(For the Japanese version of this article)

Invitation Program – Uzbekistan: H.E. Mr. N.G. Mavlyanov, Chairman of State Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan [2007/03/02-07]

Invitation Program - Uzbekistan: H.E. Mr. N.G. Mavlyanov
Chairman of State Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan


Outline


Blessed with abundant natural resources, the Republic of Uzbekistan has continuously enjoyed stable economic development. For Japan, whose energy resources depend almost entirely on imports, Uzbekistan is a country with large potential for cooperation in the fields of energy resources such as oil/natural gas and the development of uranium and other underground mineral resources. In November 2006, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry held the Uzbek-Japan Business Forum in the capital of Tashkent. At the Forum, the Uzbek side explained business prospects between the two countries and both sides confirmed the necessity to promote further exchanges. As a follow-up to the Forum, IIST invited the Chairman of State Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan to promote further economic interaction between Japan and Uzbekistan through a panel discussion and event to exchange opinions.

Dates: March 2 (Friday) -7 (Wednessday), 2007
Organized by: Institute for International Studies and Training (IIST), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan Association for Trade with Russia & NIS (ROTOBO)


Invited person


Uzbekistan: H.E. Mr. N.G. Mavlyanov
Chairman of State Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Overview


This project comprised of a business seminar and a panel discussion with Japanese experts, courtesy visits to key Japanese figures and visits to related organizations. At the panel discussion held on March 2, the main event of this project, presentations were given by the Uzbek side regarding the investment environment of the country, the current status of exploration/development of mineral resources, and the perspectives for cooperation with Japan in the field of mineral resources. Uzbekistan currently boasts some, 3,000 mineral prospect sites for precious metals, rare metals, fuel and other natural resources. Although 1,100 of these sites are already under development, the operation rate remains at a mere 30 to 40%. Given this situation, the Uzbek side stressed the necessity of technical support from Japan. Of particular note, Uzbekistan proposed the implementation of a joint project with Japan to conduct geological surveys and development of 11 uranium sites, which demonstrated a strong desire to launch technical partnerships with Japan.
Further, the Uzbek side gave a summary of the country’s sound economy, outlining the economic growth rate, which has been stable at an average of 7.3% for the past three years; the inflation rate, which has been maintained at a low level of 5.5% on average for the past four years thanks to its strict monetary policy; and the fact that 60% of the country’s trade surplus is comprised of value-added products. In addition, Uzbekistan explained that its foreign investment environment has been improved, with the necessary legal infrastructure, such as the Law on Subsoil, developed for foreign capital inflow. Explanation was also given on the country’s related pipeline and other transportation facilities, which span some 13,000 km. In addition, the Uzbek side stated that their country has already received foreign investment amounting to U.S. $20 billion and emphasized it is ready for more.
The Japanese side listened intently to the valuable information given by the Uzbek side, and displayed great interest in the outlined future investment potentials. Some realistic opinions, however, were also voiced as follows. These included: “It would be difficult to enter into the Uzbek market unless administrative management was well organized in addition to legal infrastructure;” “Joint projects would face difficulties without public funds;” “We should start from trade prior to setting up joint ventures in order to establish a foothold;” “It may be possible to provide technical support at already active mines, but not where mines are yet to be developed.” The Uzbek side was highly appreciative of these remarks.
The Uzbek side also held direct talks with the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister to confirm the necessity of promoting economic exchange between the two countries. They also visited AIST and JOGMEC, where they exchanged technical views with Japanese engineers. They also enjoyed tours of facilities at the forefront of mine development and geological research.


In recent years, technical cooperation between Japan and Uzbekistan has been somewhat limited due to various concerns held by Japan. These include a lack of information on Uzbekistan; the fact that it was questionable whether oil and other resources could be constantly exported; and the issues of logistic situation in the country. These concerns, however, were addressed at the panel discussion, in which both sides enthusiastically exchanged views. Regarding mineral resources development, an area where competing interests tend to arise, the Japanese representatives made a proactive suggestion in regard to establishing a standing committee to serve as an arena for problem solving. This is because it is essential to maintain reciprocal and stable relationship among producers, purchasers/sellers, and consumers of resources, and this suggestion was welcomed by the Uzbek side.
During the visits to JOGMEC and other organizations, active information exchanges with Japanese engineers took place. In particular, at JOGMEC TRC, the Uzbek side listened intently to presentations of Japan’s latest technologies, and showed great interest in the technology to increase oil production volume by injecting CO2 into the oil field, technology to precisely analyze oil and gas reservoirs through data related to earthquakes, geology, and latitude, and a device which projects three-dimensional images of oil and gas reservoirs.
It is anticipated that through this project, economic interaction between Japan and Uzbekistan will be further developed, based on the involvement of industries, governments and academia of both countries.


H.E. Mr. Mavlyanov, Chairman of State Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan

H.E. Mr. Mavlyanov, Chairman of State Committee on Geology and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Participants observe the latest technologies at JOGMEC TRC

Participants observe the latest technologies at JOGMEC TRC


Participants in the panel discussion (March 6)

Participants in the panel discussion (March 6)




International Exchange Dept.



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