TASHKENT: Malaysia and Uzbekistan have agreed to activate the work of the intergovernmental Joint Committee on Trade and transform the committee into the Intergovernmental Joint Commission.

In a joint statement today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said it will be continuing mutual visits of representatives of business circles as well participating in exhibitions and fairs held in the two countries.

Both countries also agreed on organising regular and effective bilateral business engagements not only in the mainstream goods and services sector, but also in tourism, healthcare opportunities, and other areas of mutual benefit.

“The leaders underscored the importance of prioritising the expansion of mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation between Uzbekistan and Malaysia,” the statement said.

Anwar and Mirziyoyev also acknowledged a notable uplift in the volume of mutual trade in goods and services between the two countries over the past seven years as well as the need to identify untapped opportunities, and expressed their readiness to further expand it in the years ahead.

“Both leaders also agreed that there is a need to hold regular negotiations between the responsible agencies of the two countries in order to discuss the issues of creating favourable conditions for bilateral trade turnover, diversifying the composition of goods exchange and increasing its volume,” the statement said.

In order to stimulate mutual trade, both leaders also emphasised the necessity to systematically continue the work on further development of air transport connections, and the establishment of new convenient logistics routes to ensure ease of doing business in both countries.

“In order to simplify the export and import processes, the leaders noted the need to accelerate cooperation between the technical regulatory bodies overseeing product standards in both countries and to integrate information systems in the field of phytosanitary,” according to the statement.

In 2023, total trade between Malaysia and Uzbekistan was RM451.1 million (US$94.03 million), with exports to Uzbekistan amounting to RM449 million (US$93.6 million) and imports amounting to RM1.99 million (US$414,518).

Both leaders also noted with satisfaction that there are some progressive engagements between Uzbekistan and Malaysia in creating a conducive halal industry ecosystem that will bring mutual benefit.

“The leaders emphasised the opportunities for successful cooperation in various sectors of the economy and discussed possible joint projects in energy, including renewable energy sources, chemistry, electronics and electrical engineering, pharmaceutical and textile, mining and metallurgical industries, agricultural products processing and food industry, engineering and construction.

“The Malaysian side confirmed that the country is ready to encourage the representatives of the business community to invest in the territory of Uzbekistan, and the Uzbek side expressed its readiness to provide the necessary assistance to Malaysian investors to simplify the procedures for doing business in the country,” the statement said.

Both leaders also agreed to facilitate the investment procedures for both incoming and outgoing investors, thereby creating a conducive environment for the healthy exchange of investment-related activities between Malaysia and Uzbekistan.

“In order to encourage mutual industrial cooperation, the leaders supported the proposal of establishing an Uzbekistan-Malaysia industrial zone in Uzbekistan encompassing safe routes for the goods as well as looking into the legal framework of cooperation in the protection of both country’s businessmen,” the statement said.

Earlier, Anwar paid a courtesy call to Mirziyoyev and held a meeting with the President.

During the one-hour meeting, the two leaders discussed relations between Malaysia and Uzbekistan as well as exploring potential areas of cooperation.

Earlier, the special aircraft carrying Anwar, who was flying in from Kazakhstan, landed at the Tashkent International Airport at 2.15 pm local time.

Uzbekistan is the last stop of Anwar’s official visit to three Central Asian countries. He had earlier visited the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan.