Last updated in April 2018
Uzbekistan regards Germany as its most important partner in the European Union. Cooperation encompasses a whole range of areas within society. Dialogue with Uzbekistan not only covers the overall conditions for trade and investment, which for years have been difficult, but also addresses human rights issues.
Germany supports the country’s willingness to engage in regional cooperation. It is also urging Uzbekistan to continue its efforts to implement further reforms and improve the human rights situation in the country.
From 2002 to 2015, the Federal Armed Forces used the air transport base in the southern Uzbek city of Termez for their missions in neighbouring Afghanistan.
According to Uzbek trade statistics, Germany ranked sixth among Uzbekistan’s trading partners in 2017, accounting for 2.3 percent of the country’s foreign trade, after China (18.5 percent), Russia (17.9 percent), Kazakhstan (7.7 percent), Turkey (5.7 percent) and South Korea (5.1 percent). These figures are taken from the 2017 statistics published by State Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Statistics (stat.uz). Germany’s main exports to Uzbekistan are machinery, motor vehicles and vehicle parts as well as pharmaceuticals. According to preliminary figures from the Federal Statistical Office, bilateral trade was worth approximately 604 million euros in 2017, an increase of more than 30 percent over the previous year. In the first months of 2018, there are signs that trade between Germany and Uzbekistan is continuing to grow.
German companies’ interest in Uzbekistan still focuses mainly on trade and less on investment. The Uzbek Government is, however, making efforts to improve the investment climate by simplifying registration requirements, lowering tariffs and offering investors tax relief and other incentives. In September 2017, it also took steps to abolish the exchange control system. Yet a number of obstacles – such as bureaucracy, lack of legal certainty and localisation requirements – continue to prevent the potential for economic relations between Germany and Uzbekistan from being fully realised. Major investors include MAN, Knauf, Gühring and Claas. As of 1 January 2016, there were 54 German companies registered in Uzbekistan, though only a small number of them with seconded German representatives.
The German Government sees bilateral development cooperation as a way to support the implementation of social and economic human rights in both Uzbekistan and the Central Asian region as a whole. One priority area in the project work of German implementing organisations active in Uzbekistan is providing support to Uzbekistan’s health care sector with the aim of improving the health of the country’s population. Key areas here include maternal and child health care and combating tuberculosis. Since 1993, the German Government has provided more than 341 million euros for technical and financial cooperation projects with Uzbekistan.
Culture and education
Cultural cooperation is based on the cultural agreement signed in 1993 and in force since 2002. German cultural intermediaries, including the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA), the Goethe-Institut and DVV International, as well as a number of foundations are active in Uzbekistan.
There are close contacts in higher education, particularly in the fields of German studies and cultural heritage preservation. As part of the Federal Foreign Office’s Schools: Partners for the Future initiative (PASCH), seven grammar and other schools with enhanced German instruction are supported by the ZfA, and the Goethe-Institut cooperates with nine other schools. The Goethe-Institut also supports German Reading Rooms in both Tashkent and Samarkand and has a service point offering information material in Fergana. German language courses are in great demand. There are still nearly half a million people learning German in Uzbekistan.
In recent years, there has been a lively exchange of German and Uzbek artists. Projects by the German Embassy and other German organisations are being increasingly conducted in Uzbekistan’s provinces. These include concerts and master classes with German artists, theatre workshops and sporting events.
Through the Federal Foreign Office’s Cultural Preservation Programme, the Federal Government plays a significant role in preserving Uzbekistan’s unique architectural heritage. The projects conducted so far include work on the dome of the Tilla Kari Madrassa in Samarkand, the Shakhi-Sinda necropolis, the Ishrat-Khana Mausoleum in Samarkand and the Abdul Aziz Khan Madrassa in Bukhara, as well as projects to digitise 5000 old glass-plate negatives at the Museum of History and Art of the Uzbek People and to preserve ancient manuscripts at the regional branch of the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences in Nukus.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.