THE MEASURES TAKEN IN UZBEKISTAN TO ELIMINATE THE USE OF CHILD AND
the path of building a democratic, secular, legal state, where the
provision of human rights and freedoms is the supreme goal,
Uzbekistan is one of the first in the region to ratify 13 ILO
conventions, including on forced labor, discrimination in
employment, minimum age for admission to employment and immediate
action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor and
In order to
implement the provisions of these conventions, amendments and
supplements were made to national legislation aimed at establishing
legal guarantees for the children and adults labor and increase the
responsibility for its violation.
regulations of the Republic of Uzbekistan establish the minimum age
for admission to employment, the list of activities and work
prohibited for children under the 18 years of age, compulsory
education for 12 years, banned forced labor and human trafficking.
Article 77 of the Labor Code provides the minimum age for admission
to employment - 16 years of age, in exceptional cases, with the
permission of parents or their substitutes shall be employed from 15
years of age. In July 2009 the Ministry of Labour and Social
Protection of Population and the Ministry of Healthcare issued a new
edition of the “List of hazardous types of work prohibited for
persons under 18 years of age”. According to this list it is
forbidden to recruit persons under 18 years of age prohibits in 34
production sectors, in particular, they are not allowed to take 1673
specific professions. More detail information on this list can be
There is a
system of state institutions on prohibition of forced labor,
including the worst forms of child labor. The The Special Commission
on Affairs of Minors of the Cabinet of Ministers headed by the
Prosecutor General of the Republic of Uzbekistan is responsible for
addressing almost all matters related to the situation of children
in society, including control over elimination of the worst forms of
the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population has
effective legal inspections for labor protection, supervising over
preventing the violations of labor legislation.
control over the observance of the existing legislation is also
carried out by the Institute of Ombudsman and its offices in the
regions, representatives of international organizations such as ILO
and UNICEF, and various NGOs involved in the protection of the
rights of children and youth.
should be noted that any violation against children and forced labor
strictly punishable by the Uzbek legislation.
the Law of Uzbekistan "On combating human trafficking" forced labor
or services - referred to the exploitation of people and are
classified as human trafficking. In accordance with Article 135 of
the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan, trafficking is punishable by
imprisonment for a term of 3 to 5 years; the same action committed
under the threat of coercion shall be punished by imprisonment for a
term of 5 to 8 years.
Over the past
year and a half under this Article there had been detected and
investigated more than 1,600 criminal cases. 1,100 persons brought
to justice, more than 1,700 men and 700 women, including 60 minors
were acknowledged as victims.
In order to
strengthen the control over the implementation of the requirements
of ILO conventions the Coordination Council on Child Labour was
established in the Republic of Uzbekistan that was headed by high
ranking officials of the Federation Council of Trade Unions, the
Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Chamber of Commerce. It
also includes representatives of relevant ministries, agencies and
Coordination Council plays a crucial role in the organization and
monitoring of child labor in the cotton industry, organized by
Uzbekistan jointly with ILO.
child labor was conducted during the period from the 11th of
September to the 31st of October 2013 by ten international experts
together with 40 specialists from the Ministry of Labor and Social
Protection, Council of Federation of Trade Unions, the Chamber of
Commerce and the Council of Farmers of Uzbekistan. All experts
previously taken part in special training courses and seminars
organized by the ILO experts in accordance with international
requirements and using the methodology of ILO-IPEC.
experts were hired by the ILO itself, without the intervention of
the Uzbek side and operated in accordance with the mandate of the
ILO and international law. The experts had a high competence, with
extensive experience and wide range of knowledge in the
implementation of international labor standards, forced labor, child
labor, trafficking, agriculture and labor inspection.
been carried out in schools, farms and households (private houses)
and mahallas. As a result, there were 806 site visits, 1592
documented interviews (ILO Guidelines form), and unhindered access
to the cotton fields, educational institutions and to all the other
places visited in unplanned and unagreed schedule. Detailed results
of the monitoring (printed and electronic) have been passed directly
to the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions
and Recommendations (CEACR) in November-December 2013 for
revealed the absence of the use of forced child labor in a
systematic manner in the cotton harvest in 2013. Cases of child
labor occurred during the cotton harvest were very limited.
Appropriate measures to assist children, including their
reintegration in the educational institutions have been taken if
child labor was revealed.
bringing child labor were brought to administrative responsibility.
Organization of Employers (IOE) welcomed the results of the joined
monitoring of the ILO and the Uzbek side as a visual demonstration
of the commitment of the government and national social partners of
Uzbekistan to cooperate with the ILO to eradicate the practice of
child labor in the country.
It should also
be noted that in 2012 the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in
Uzbekistan had monitored this matter as well. By the letter of 26
October 2012, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan confirmed that the
2012 were was no mass mobilization of pupils of secondary schools in
the cotton harvest.
In a constant
manner there is a broad outreach to all categories of workers (heads
of organizations, teachers, farmers, self-government bodies, women's
and youth organizations) to prevent forced labor, including the
worst forms of child labor, as well publishing special guidelines
The Council of
the Federation of Trade Unions issued tens of thousands of copies of
the guidelines “Uzbekistan ratified ILO Conventions” and distributed
among employers and self-governing bodies through the Chamber of
Commerce of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the “Mahalla” Foundation.
For these purposes, the Internet has been extensively used, to which
more than 10.2 million people, or one third of the total population
have access nowadays.
partnership mechanisms are applied in implementing the ILO
Conventions. There is the general agreement between the Government,
trade unions and employers in Uzbekistan, 86 sectorial agreements
and directly between enterprises and organizations - over 93
thousand collective agreements.
and contractual agreements cover 96% of all legal entities employing
a labor of the trade unions’ members. All collective agreements
contain provisions on observance of labor rights, including
protection from forced labor in accordance with the ILO Convention
on the measures that are undertaken by the Republic of Uzbekistan on
the prevention of forced labor and the worst forms of child labor
are timely submitted to the ILO. Information on implementation of
ILO Conventions is available on the webpages of the Embassies of
Uzbekistan abroad. Only the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Belgium had
sent this type information to over 2,400 addressees.
The evidence of
the commitment of Uzbekistan to further develop and strengthen
constructive cooperation with ILO on implementation of Conventions
on forced and child labor is the adoption in last April of a Decent
Work Country Programme for 2014-2016.
includes priorities, tasks and indicators on three strategic areas:
1) Strengthening social partnership in Uzbekistan to implement
fundamental labor principles and rights at work, including a
national policy on the application of international labor standards,
an action plan on the application of the conventions on forced and
child labor, conditions of work in agriculture, including in the
decent employment opportunities, including implementation of active
policies of providing full, productive and freely chosen employment,
including youth, the effective operation of labor market
institutions, the development of entrepreneurship through promotion
of self-employment and support for small enterprises;
an effective management system of occupational safety and health,
conducting out collective bargaining and tripartite consultations on
wages, improvement of social protection.
the Strategy, on 27 May 2014 the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan
adopted a Resolution on “Additional measures to implement ILO
Conventions ratified by the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2014-2016”.
The document provides a number of important measures to prevent and
eradicate the worst forms of child labor and forced labor, carrying
out legal reforms and strengthening the national monitoring system
using the ILO-IPEC methodology.
of Uzbekistan issued a written (protocol) instructions to all the
involved organizations, including hokims, heads of educational
institutions and other organizations, on the inadmissibility of
mass-involving (interrupting the study process) of children under 18
years of age to the cotton harvest, as well as forced mobilization
of workers, without their voluntary consent, by applying harsh
penalties in the case of violations the relevant legislation.
September to 25 October 2014 the national monitoring of child labor
in the cotton industry was conducted in accordance with the above
mentioned Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers with methodological
and expert assistance from the ILO.
this monitoring, on 16-17 September 2014 Uzbekistan with the
assistance of ILO experts (Anton Hausen, E.Betullaeva, Harry Taliga,
Anna Sokolova) have been conducted training for members of the
regional monitoring groups with participation of more than 60
For the first
time representatives of regional self initiative NGOs such as the
Association of Teachers “Murabbiy”, Association on reproductive
health, Center for social support adolescents "Lobar", Information
and Educational Center of Youth "Istiqbolli avlod" and others were
involved in the monitoring process.
account the practical absence of persons under 18 years of age in
the cotton fields during the monitoring in 2013, upon the ILO’s
suggestion, it was decided to raise the age of pickers to be
interviewed up to 20 years of age.
The ILO advice
and expert assistance were systematically provided during the
As a whole,
from 18 September to 25 October 2014 the experts of the regional
monitoring groups covered about 40,000 km, visited 172 rural
districts and cities of regional subordination, including 46 - in
the course of repeated visits. 711 sites of potential risks were
visited, including 316 visits to the professional colleges and
academic lyceums and 395 visits to farms. 745 documented interviews
had been taken.
In total, 1916
applications have been filled by experts in accordance with the ILO
specialized vocational education institutions functioned during the
season of the cotton harvest. The average percentage of attendance
of students of academic lyceums and professional colleges made up
monitoring period in the cotton fields it was recorded the presence
of 49 minors. 41 of them picked cotton and 8 children were present
in the field with their parents.
In all these
cases the perpetrators were brought to justice. In particular, the
leaders of 11 professional colleges in five districts were brought
to administrative responsibility for violations of child labor and
imposed the fine of more than 8.5 million Uzbek soms (about
$3,552.74). Eight heads of farms were brought to administrative
responsibility in the two regions and in respect of fines amounting
to more than 3.2 mln. soms (about $ 1,337.50).
All cotton in
2014 had been collected by private producers - farmers (their number
is 70 thousand farms and they employ more than 1.4 million people),
in accordance with the employment contracts concluded in advance for
30-40 days. In addition, 1000 cotton harvesting combines were used,
whose number will be increased to 3000 in 2015 and 10000 - in
2016-2017, which will allow the machinery to collect 85% of grown
cotton. It should be noted that in 2014 additional workers were
recruited to attend in the cotton harvest upon individual employment
Article 2 of the Forced Labour Convention (¹29), hiring workers on a
voluntary basis to cotton works cannot be considered as forced
labour, as workers have the right to terminate their employment at
any time, if there is a situation of compulsion.
In order to
protect citizens’ labour rights, “hotlines” have been launched and
operate under the Council of the Federation of Trade Unions,
regional councils of trade unions and territorial associations of
trade union organizations. 1994 citizens’ appeals were received in
2013 and 2048 in 2014, which were given legal advices. However no
complaints related to the use of forced labour and the worst forms
of child labour in cotton works have been filed. It should also be
noted that in 2013-2014 there have not been any claims to the courts
on forcing by authorities to attend of business organizations in the
trade unions, in the vast majority of farms of the country the
necessary conditions for effective work and good rest for cotton
pickers have been created. In particular, hot meals were provided
under quality control by medical staff, diversity and calorie
purposes. In the fields there were containers with drinking water.
It should be
noted that in addition to payment from their permanent place of
work, workers had been paid for harvested cotton. Payment had been
made in cash at least once in five days in the presence of bank
employees, while the advanced pickers were rewarded with valuable
gifts on weekly basis.
As far as the
issue of forcing businesses to provide funds to pay for food or
cotton pickers, it should be noted that since this year, such
practice is prohibited by the law.
The Cabinet of
Ministers of Uzbekistan adopted the Decree of 12 August 2014 on
Regulations on the use by budgetary organizations charitable
donations from business entities.
stresses that the leadership of governing bodies and regional
authorities, as well as budgetary organizations in accordance with
legislation take responsibility for forcing business entities to
In this year it
is planned to prepare amendments to the legislation, which establish
the administrative and criminal responsibility for the forced
involvement of businesses to charities and other activities related
to the funds diversion.
that the authorities force pensioners, mothers and other citizens to
participate in the cotton harvest under threat of being deprived the
social insurance support, on which they depend, are also baseless.
There is no any single fact of deprivation of women and pensioners
payments, social benefits for some reason.
It would be
right to say that members of farmers’ and workers’ families wish to
get additional income, which is not prohibited by current law.
Moreover, in 2015 Uzbekistan declared “The Year of Care for the
Senior Generation” and adopted a State Program, which envisages a
complex of measures aimed at improving the health of elder people
and to improve the service provided for them. 2246,5 trillion Uzbek
soums were allocated for the implementation of the Program.
It should be
noted that prior to independence in 1990, the cotton held up to 90
percent of our country’s structure of agricultural lands.
Practically there was no crop rotation. The land dwindled, was
barbarously used for one purpose only - to grow cotton. The monopoly
of cotton and one-sided development of agriculture in the Soviet
period led to the fact that in Uzbekistan, which has fertile land
and excellent climatic conditions, the consumption of meat, dairy
products, grains and even fruit and vegetables and potatoes per
capita used to be twice lower than in the other republics of the
former Soviet Union. In addition, the intensive cotton production,
the use of huge amounts of pesticides and chemicals has led an
environmental disaster of the Aral Sea and increased mortality,
particularly among children.
independence as a result of measures taken in the country, the
acreage under cotton has been reduced twice and its production -
from 6 million tonnes to just over 3 million tons, and the liberated
areas given over to food crops.
institutional reforms, the essence of which was the total
elimination of administrative planning and distribution system
(collective farms), the transition to market relations, became the
fundamental basis of the reform of agricultural production in our
lands were transferred to the newly created private farmers with
allocation of lands to them on a rental basis, providing necessary
privileges and preferences by the Government. In particular, farmers
use the simplified tax system - are subject to only one type of tax
- a single tax on land. The lending rate for farmers is less than 5
provided with all kinds of services. Currently, more than 1,5
thousand mini-banks provide services in rural areas, there are
almost 2 thousand machine and tractor parks, about 2,5 thousand
stations selling of fuel and mineral fertilizers, there are 1,5
thousand water users' associations in rural areas, more than 350
There is joint
production of the most modern tractors, grain and cotton harvesters
in the country together with German companies “Claas” and “Lemken”.
2010-2014 planting of new orchards on the area of almost 50 thousand
hectares was carried out, including more than 14 thousand hectares
of intensive gardening with the use of drip irrigation, as well as
vineyards – on the area of 23 thousand hectares. Over 6 million
seedlings were delivered from Poland, Serbia and other European
countries in order to create intensive orchards.
The volume of
agricultural production increased overall by more than 2 times since
independence, which, in spite of the growth of the country's
population of nearly 10 million people, or over 30 million, allowed
to increase in per capita consumption of meat – 1,3 times, milk and
milk products – 1,6 times, potatoes – 1,7 times, vegetables - more
than 2 times, fruits - almost 4 times.
Uzbekistan annually produces about 16 million tons of fruit and
vegetables. Per capita production is provided by approximately 300
kilograms of vegetables, 75 kg of potatoes and 44 kilos of grapes,
which is about three times higher than the optimal consumption
In the first
years of independence, more than 5 million tons of wheat had been
delivered to the country, but in recent years Uzbekistan produces
more than 8 million tons. Today Uzbekistan is a fully
self-sufficient state in the issue of providing the population with
consumer goods and food products.
food program allowed not only to solve the key tasks of providing
complete and balanced nutrition for the population, but also to
increase the export of fruits and vegetables by almost 5 times –
from 1.6 billion USD in 1991 to 5 billion USD in 2014.
the volume of cotton exports reduced by twice from 1.13 million tons
in 1991 to 580 thousand tons in 2014.
In 1991 the
share of cotton-fiber in the total exports of Uzbekistan (1.5
billion USD) was 59,7% percent. However, in 2014 this figure fell to
7.4% of the total exports of 13.5 billion USD, while exports of
fruits and vegetables increased to 11,9%.
those who spread biased information that the export of cotton-fiber
is the main source of foreign currency for Uzbekistan do not know
the real situation, or they it deliberately in order to isolate
Uzbekistan and inflict damage on sustainable and independent
development of the country, and also harm the process of
strengthening its relations with the countries of Europe.
suggest that in 2020 the production of fruit and vegetables, grapes
and melons would increase by at least 2,3 times in comparison with
the outcomes of 2014.
Needless to say
that relying on such prospects for the production of fruit and
vegetables and grapes, it is necessary, first of all, to continue
and deepen a large-scale work on the reform and modernization of
agriculture, improvement of land reclamation and irrigation,
increasing fertility and soil productivity. The program of measures
for irrigated land reclamation for 2013-2017 envisages that within
five years 1,4 million hectares of irrigated land will be
ameliorated and crop yields will be increased.
Program of agricultural development for 2015-2019 years has been
elaborated. It provides for a further phased optimization of the
cotton field by reducing low-yield land, with subsequent placement
on the released land fruits, potatoes and other crops, as well as
the organization of intensive gardens.
The Program of
measures on structural reforms, modernization and diversification of
production in 2015-2019 envisages implementation of 391 investment
projects in the food industry, construction of more than 2 thousand
modern storage facilities with capacity of preserving not less than
1.3 million tons of fruit and vegetables, thus bringing the total
storage capacity up to 2 million tons. At the same time it will
ensure the development of other logistics networks associated with
appreciate the assistance of such institutions as the International
Fund for Agricultural Development, Asian Development Bank, World
Bank, Islamic Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility, the
UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and many others, as well as
foreign government agencies, which have participated in attracting
more than 1.1 billion USD for implementation of more than 100
investment and grant projects aimed at modernizing and improving the
efficiency of agriculture, involving existing reserves and capacity
to increase production of food crops
We also welcome
the allocation 168 million euro by the EU in the framework of
development assistance for the period 2014-2020 for the
implementation of national projects in Uzbekistan, mainly in the
field of rural development. At the same time, it is important to
ensure the implementation of pilot projects with an integrated
approach, which would cover issues of irrigation, support for small
and medium-sized businesses, attraction through pilot projects of
new technologies in agricultural production such as intensive
gardening, drip irrigation and others.
In order to
create an alternative system to child and forced labour, special
attention has been paid to the reform of the education system, which
provides a 12-year compulsory education, including, in addition to
general secondary education, training in academic lyceums and
professional colleges, covering all young people under the 18 years
of age. The school education in Uzbekistan is conducted in seven
languages – Uzbek, Karakalpak, Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkmen and
completion of 9 years of secondary school, the next 3 years the
youth receives training in specialized professional colleges and
academic lyceums equipped with modern teaching and laboratory,
computer and mechanical equipment. There along with general studies
young people are also trained on two or three specialties demanded
in the labour market.
More than 1500
new professional colleges and academic lyceums have been constructed
in Uzbekistan during the years of independence.
annual spending in Uzbekistan for the development and reform of
education accounts for up to 10-12% of GDP, and its share in the
state budget expenditures exceed 35%. This fact itself highlights
the enormous attention paid to this area.
To prevent the
use of child labour more attention is given to monitoring the school
attendance of pupils. It should be noted that during the entire
school year attendance of the training sessions is maintained at the
level of 98-99 percent.
Each case of
absence of a student in the classroom without a valid excuse becomes
a subject of discussion both at the level of teaching staff and the
Mahalla (citizens’ institute of self-governance) with follow-up
measures to immediately return a student to the studies and sports
activities at the school.
For the past
period a specially created fund financed the construction of around
1500 modern public sports facilities for children. Almost every
school, college and high school now has outdoor sports fields and
indoor gyms and swimming pools equipped with modern sports
equipment. Currently in Uzbekistan about 2 million children,
including over 840,000 girls, are regularly engaged in more than 30
types of sports activities.
attention is paid in Uzbekistan to the development of health care.
60 per cent of the public budget funds are spent on social
protection of the population annually. In 2014, there was an
in-depth medical examination of 6.5 million pupils of preschools and
schools, professional colleges and high schools, allowing early
identification of diseases and their successfully prevention.
cooperation with the Republic of Korea, a construction of modern
medical children's multi-center has started, with no analogues in
the other CIS countries, which will be equipped with high-tech
As a result of
the measures taken over the past ten years, the number of children
born with congenital malformations decreased by 1.3 times. Among
children of 6-15 incidences of acute respiratory viral infections
fell by 34.4 per cent, pneumonia - 49.7 per cent, bronchitis - 32.8
per cent, scoliosis - by 32.7 per cent. In general, over the years
of independence, infant and maternal mortality has reduced by more
than 3 times, and life expectancy of the population has increased
for 7 years from 66 to 73.5.
forced and child labor the Parliament adopted the special Program
which is being implement by the Government. Under this Program jobs
are created every year and more than 970.000 people get employed in
order to increase incomes and living standards. In 2014 about 1
million jobs were created, of which 60 per cent are in rural areas.
Over the past
year more than 600 thousand graduates of educational institutions
were employed. A significant part of youth is employed by small
businesses. Graduates of professional colleges, decided to start
their own business, receive about 200 billion soums of preferential
microloans, 1.4 times more than in 2013.
share of small businesses and private entrepreneurships in the GDP
of Uzbekistan has grown from 1 per cent in 1991 to 56 percent in
2014. Currently, this sector of the economy employs more than 76.5
per cent of the working population against 49.7 per cent in 2000.
As a result,
the structure of income of the population sees a growing share of
income from business activities, which in the years of independence
has increased from 10.6 to 52 per cent. This is one of the highest
rates in the CIS countries. In contrast to other countries of the
former Soviet Union, in Uzbekistan there is no sharp population
stratification by income level. The level of differentiation in the
population’s income, when compared to the most and least affluent,
decreased from 53.3 times to 7.8 times, in the period from 2000 to
the present. The threshold value is 10, which is the criterion for
social stability in society. The most important thing is that a
sense of social justice and security is reflected in mood and
well-being of the people. For instance, according to the WHO, in
2012 the number of suicides per 100 thousand population was 8.5
cases in Uzbekistan that is 2-2.5 times lower than in neighboring
countries and most of the CIS countries, as well as developed
countries in Europe and Asia, including cotton-growing states.
It is important
to note that today almost every second family has a personal car,
which is particularly satisfying and making feel pride – of domestic
production (more than 250 thousand cars of 8 types of Chevrolet cars
are produced annually in partnership with the General Motors). A
strong focus is on strengthening road safety, along with the
increase in the numbers of cars in the country. According to WHO,
published in 2013, in Uzbekistan the number of deaths in road
accidents per 100 thousand population was almost 2 times less than
in the neighboring countries (21.9 – in Kazakhstan, 19,2 – in
Kyrgyzstan, 18.1 – in Tajikistan) and in a number of CIS countries
(18.6 – in Russia, 18.1 – in Armenia, 15.7 – in Georgia). During the
cotton harvest additional measures are taken to ensure enhanced road
safety. Therefore that anonymous information distributed in the
Internet about the growth of fatal accidents in this period did not
correspond to reality.
Today, a study
of working conditions and employment practices of labor in
agriculture is carried out in cooperation with ILO, which will
clarify the concept of forced labor in the cotton harvest.
Steps have been
taken to institutionalize free hiring pickers through the labor
From child and
forced labor prevention’s viewpoint it is important that a national
system of monitoring compliance with labor legislation has been
formed today in Uzbekistan with the ILO’s assistance, including in
the sphere of child and forced labor, corresponding to the ILO’s
international standards and the ILO-IPEC’s methodology.
And that is why
Uzbekistan can and will monitor compliance with requirements of ILO
Convention, with assistance of ILO and involvement of NGOs
registered in the country.
firm commitment of Uzbekistan to fulfill its international
obligations in the field of labor protection is the development in
the last two years constructive dialogue and intensified cooperation
with the ILO. Since 2013 20 activities were held jointly with the
ILO. The representatives of the ILO visited Uzbekistan 9 times.
On 22-23 April
2015 Tashkent hosted an international conference “The role of trade
unions in ensuring citizens' rights to decent working conditions:
the experience of Uzbekistan” along UNDP, ILO and Friedrich Ebert
cooperation between ILO and Uzbekistan discussed at the 103rd Annual
International Labor Conference (ILC) held in June 2014, as well as
at a meeting of the ILO Committee of Experts.
Due to the fact
that in 2013 the cooperation between Uzbekistan and ILO reached high
level and, taking into consideration the Uzbek Government’s
commitment to fulfill international obligations, the ILC’s 103rd
Session did not include Uzbekistan in the list of countries having
problems with the implementation of ILO Conventions.
with the implementation of ILO conventions by Uzbekistan
(Conventions ¹182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour and ¹105 on
Abolition of Forced Labour) was not included in a preliminary list
of 40 individual cases of concern, which may be considered at the
104th session of the International Labour Conference in June 2015.
account the positive dynamics in collaboration between Uzbekistan
and ILO, we hope that the European Parliament will adopt a decision
to ratify this year the Protocol to amend to the Cooperation and
Partnership Agreement between Uzbekistan and EU, due to the
expiration of the Agreement on trade in textiles signed on April 7,
In June next
year it would be exactly 20 years since the Agreement on Partnership
and Cooperation between Uzbekistan and the EU was signed at the
level of Heads of States and Governments during the visit of the
President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to Italy in June 1996.
The paragraph 1
of Article 43 of this document states that the Republic of
Uzbekistan and the Community shall establish economic cooperation
aimed at contributing to the process of economic reform and recovery
and sustainable development of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Such
cooperation shall strengthen existing economic links, to the benefit
of both parties.
performance of mutual trade and attraction of the European
investments to the Republic of Uzbekistan does not correspond to the
goals stated in this agreement and existing bilateral potential.
in 2013 Uzbekistan's trade with three countries of the Asia-Pacific
region (China, South Korea and Japan) exceeded $7 billion, with the
CIS countries - more than $12 billion, while trade with the 28 EU
countries amounted to only $2.5 billion. In 2014 the trade turnover
between Uzbekistan and the EU countries amounted to over 1.8 billion
Euros. Where, the exports of the EU to Uzbekistan amounted to more
than 1.5 billion Euro, while exports of Uzbekistan to the EU - about
234 million Euro, i.e. the EU member states had a surplus in trade
with our country - more than 1.3 billion Euros. While about 70% of
Uzbekistan's imports from the EU are machinery and equipment, at the
same time over 60% of Uzbekistan’s exports to the EU countries are
raw materials. Herewith, the export of Uzbekistan textile products
to the EU amounted to only 39 million Euros or approximately 18% of
the total export of Uzbekistan to the EU member states.
industry of Uzbekistan is one of the national economy priorities
aimed at creating new jobs and providing added value, which since
the independence has attracted more than $1.8 billion of foreign
investments to implement projects in the sphere of cotton
processing, creating new and modernizing existing facilities. The
processing of cotton yarn has increased from about 7% in 1991 to
over 40% last year. Herewith, the export of textile products has
increased from $ 8 million in 1991 to $ 1 billion in 2014.
At the same
time, a number of Asian countries which have not ratified the ILO
Conventions No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour and No. 105
concerning Abolition of Forced Labour exported to the EU the textile
industry products in the amount from 2.5 to 11 billion Euros.
Herewith, as indicated in the newspaper “The Guardian” of 5 May
2014, in one of the South Asian countries there are more than 270
thousand farmer suicides since 1995 due to the inability to return
debts. These farmers were mainly engaged in the cultivation of
It has been
noted that one of the reasons of the growth of farmers’ debts is the
activity of transnational companies in the introduction of
genetically modified cotton. Due to this fact farmers are forced to
buy expensive herbicides produced by these companies.
This raises the
objective question - why while having deep problems in cotton
production in the Asian continent, the web - page of the cotton
which includes more than 20 well-known American and European
independent organizations, contains 28 news and 33 reports,
published from 2005 to April 2015 which are devoted only to cotton
production in Uzbekistan.
It is well
known that before 2005 Uzbekistan exported cotton through
international traders of the Liverpool Cotton Exchange and from that
year began exporting cotton directly through the Tashkent Cotton
Fair. And from that moment Uzbekistan faces pressure based on
distributing generally the preconceived and biased information aimed
at convincing the European trading companies to refuse imports of
textile products from Uzbekistan. At the same time, textile products
manufactured in Uzbekistan exported to more than 40 countries.
Due to economic
diversification and processing industry development the share of
agriculture in the country's GDP in 2014 compared with 1991
decreased more than two times from 34% to 17%. At the same time the
share of industry in GDP of Uzbekistan increased by almost two times
and is now 24.3% compared to 14.2% in 1991.
attaches priority to develop relations with the EU, and is
interested in further strengthening mutual understanding and deepen
fruitful and mutually beneficial, constructive and mutually
respectful cooperation both multilaterally with the EU institutions,
including the European Parliament, and on a bilateral basis.
We hope that
objective and unbiased approach based on the assessments and
findings of the authoritative international organizations such as
ILO, UNICEF, WHO and others will prevail during the consideration on
the approval of the Protocol, in order to further develop healthy
and stable relationship which correspond to the fundamental
interests of the parties, and ensure peace, stability, prosperity in
Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan
in the Kingdom of Belgium