This blog is part of the series,“Joining the Eurasian Economic Union: Perspectives from the Eurasian Business Community,” which features analysis from renowned economists from EAEU member states and Uzbekistan. This series follows the CIPE-supported virtual roundtable held on October 13, 2020 in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce in Uzbekistan. The event recording is available in both English and Russian.
The issue of Uzbekistan’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has been a topic of active discussion over the past year. Accession to the EAEU is often seen as an alternative to joining the WTO. When in early 2020, Uzbekistan announced its accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) as an observer state, with prospects of future membership, the American Chamber of Commerce in Uzbekistan reached out to its member companies to better understand the local business community perspective.
In a survey of 100 member companies, AmCham Uzbekistan identified the positions of local businesses regarding the economic and financial implications of the country’s EAEU accession on domestic firms and trade.
Of 100 companies, the majority of which operate in consulting, business services, and trade, 46% currently operate in EAEU member states.
When asked about the impact of Uzbekistan’s EAEU accession on supply chain costs and trade terms, 53% of businesses stated their expenses wouldn’t change, while 24% said they would increase, and 23% said they would decrease.
Overall, member companies currently experience issues with the availability and cost of skilled labor, which they believe will be improved if Uzbekistan joins the EAEU.
Survey respondents cited potential improvements to the business operating environment, specifically in terms of legislation and market mechanism, if the country were to join the EAEU.
The companies surveyed cited the greatest difficulties in business operations in the public sector, specifically related to corruption and the cost of red tape at the central and local government levels. Based on the survey, Uzbekistani businesses have a positive outlook on the country’s accession to the EAEU, namely in terms of potential improvements in public sector operations.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Uzbekistan is a voluntary, independent business association established in 1997 that unites over 100 local and foreign companies, originating in the U.S., Europe, and South Asia. The AmCham is an affiliate and fully accredited member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.