Country Rankings - Uzbekistan
Jan 16, 2014 Uzbekistan: glittersRussia's president is already probably quite happy at the recent turn of events on the world stage, certainly as regards trade, having "saved" part of his "near abroad", the Ukraine, from the clutches of the evil EU at the 11th hour, and having enticed Uzbekhistan into his CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) free trade area. One has got to welcome free trade wherever it exists, and the current members of the CIS free trade area – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Tajikistan – represent a sizeable chunk of real estate. Uzbekhistan applied to join the WTO in 1994, but negotiations have been unsurprisingly glacial, given the nature of the regime. Boss Islam Karimov is a holdover from the USSR, one of the few that remain in power, and does not seem to have very progressive economic policies. Gold is the word that comes to mind in association with Uzbekhistan, and cotton, I suppose, and the destruction of the Aral Sea. Otherwise, I can't say that the hour I spent on the runway in Tashkent twenty years ago taught me much about the country, and most of what is said about it is negative, so don't read too much into this temporary bouquet, which will probably wither quickly. And I don't recommend making an investment in the country, not that they seem to invite FDI.