Turkey - Uzbekistan Business Forum Meeting hosted by DEIK was held in Ankara on July 23, 2019 with the participation of the Vice President of the Turkish Republic Fuat Oktay, Uzbekistan's Deputy Prime Minister Elyor Ganiev, DEIK President Nail Olpak, President of Turkey-Uzbekistan Business Council Izzet Ekmekcibasi the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan Adham Ikramov and 450 leading representatives from the business sector from both countries.

"Uzbekistan has a strategic position with its geopolitical and historical ties while neighboring all states in Central Asia" said Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay. Turkey is aware of Uzbekistan's potential in all areas and is ready to support it in all matters to further its aims, he continued. Oktay believed that the Turkey-Uzbekistan Business Forum, which has brought together business communities of the two countries, will prove to be a milestone to begin a new era in their relations. Underlining deep-rooted ties between Turkish and Uzbek peoples, Oktay emphasized that both countries share civilization, history, language and culture.

Oktay stressed that the bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached $900 million in the first five months of 2019, adding that by the end of the year, they are expecting it to reach $2 billion.

Underscoring the importance of the Joint Economic Commission meeting to be held Tuesday in Ankara, Oktay said the two countries are targeting to increase the trade volume to $5 billion in the medium term.

According to DEIK President Nail Olpak, as the first country to recognize the independence of Uzbekistan, Turkey has put great efforts to increase the cooperation between the countries.

"The multidimensional relations between the two countries, particularly political, commercial, education, military, health and transportation spheres, depend on legal grounds based on more than 100 agreements and protocols. The trade volume between our countries has reached 1,7 million dollars in 2018 with a 26,8% increase in the last 5 years. While Turkey's export to Uzbekistan has increased 20% and reached 500 million dollars, the import has reached 434 million dollars with a 12,5% increase in the first 5 months of 2019. Further promising news for the Turkish business sector is that Turkish construction companies will be prioritized by Uzbek ministry officials. Relaying the globally known experience of Turkey to Uzbekistan; joint projects within tourism, agriculture and textile sectors will be beneficial to both countries. Turkish Eximbank should be supported for their activities regarding international credit in Uzbekistan. The completion of the credit agreements that have reached the final stages and the implementation of 250 million dollars loan agreement signed by the NBU (National Bank of Uzbekistan) with state guarantee would be pleasing for both countries' business sectors. Olpak stated that the trade volume between Uzbekistan and Turkey is expected to reach 2 million dollars by the end of 2019.

"Our doors are open to Turkish citizens, and Turkey's doors are open for our businessmen," Uzbekistan's Deputy Prime Minister Elyor Ganiev said.

"Efforts are being carried out by both sides to further develop bilateral relations, relations have moved to a new stage in terms of quality and Uzbek-Turkish relations are growing, developing and progressing in all areas without slowing down" he continued. "Over the last two to three years, Uzbek-Turkish relations have been experiencing developments that have not been previously observed," Ganiev said, underlining the historical, moral and spiritual ties between the "friendly nations". Bilateral relations have increased to the point of joint strategic cooperation, he added. Ganiev said 225 companies were established with Turkish capital in Uzbekistan in the first half of 2019, adding the total number of Turkish companies in his country exceeded 1,000.

Ganiev stated that the volume of trade between the two countries had reached $2.2 billion with an increase of 40% over the previous year but the capacity of the potential of trade prevents Ganiev from accepting the current volume as satisfactory. He called for taking urgent measures to increase trade volume to $5 billion annually.

Turkey-Uzbekistan Business Council President Izzet Ekmekcibasi stated that Uzbekistan is a valuable friend/ally for Turkey and said: "The 5th meeting of the Joint Economic Commission with Uzbekistan will be the beginning of a new era of trade for both countries." Ekmekcibasi added that the business forum which has been active since 1993 aims to improve the cooperation between Turkey and Uzbekistan and carry the intimate relationship between two countries across Eurasia.

The President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan Adham Ikramov emphasizes the growth of trade volume by 39% between 2017 and 2018. He states that there are 1026 Uzbekistan based companies in Turkey and 251 Turkish companies were established in Uzbekistan in the first half of 2019. "There are representatives of 50 companies from construction, construction products, medicine, agriculture and other various sectors present today, and we are ready to walk hand in hand with the Turkish business sphere to reach our common goals." continued Ikramov.

While cooperation agreement was signed between DEIK and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan within the scope of the business forum, several agreements were signed between Gebze Organized Industrial Zone and Uzbekistan Investment and Foreign Investment Ministry and Turkish State Railways and Uzbekistan Railways.

Turkey- Uzbekistan Business Forum, financially supported by Calik Enerjive Coskunoz Holding, continued with bilateral discussions in meetings labeled as "The Improvement of Commercial and Economic Cooperation between Turkey and Uzbekistan" and "Investment Opportunities in Uzbekistan, Opportunities Regarding Turkish Private Sector".