On July 6 this year, the initialing ceremony of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the European Union took place in Brussels.
The event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov from the Uzbek side, and the Head of the Cabinet of the EU High Representative Pedro Serrano from the European side.
The new agreement is intended to replace the existing Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between Uzbekistan and the EU of 1996 and bring bilateral cooperation to a qualitatively new level. This current PCA mainly contains provisions on political dialogue, cooperation in the fields of democracy, human rights, promotion of cultural ties, financial and technical cooperation, investment, trade in goods and services, as well as intellectual property protection.
The EPCA covers a wider range of issues. Among them provisions related to trade and other issues, including customs administration, technical regulation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, competition, dispute settlement and other areas. In addition, the range of cooperation in the areas of investment cooperation, trade in goods, services and intellectual property has been significantly expanded by including the fundamental rules of the World Trade Organization.
Also the Agreement includes such new areas as foreign policy, security, conflict prevention and crisis management, personal data protection, asylum and border management, combating illegal migration, organized crime and corruption, countering terrorism.
It should be noted that this Agreement is no longer a framework, but creates a full-fledged mechanism for comprehensive cooperation between the EU and Uzbekistan, including in the field of trade and economic cooperation.
Negotiations on the EPCA were started in February 2019 and completed at the end of June 2022. During this period, 10 rounds of negotiations and more than 150 meetings were held, both at the level of experts, chief negotiators, and members of the governments.
Undoubtedly, the EPCA will contribute to the further integration of Uzbekistan into the multilateral trading system, strengthen the mechanisms of the market economy, increase the confidence and interest of foreign investors and business circles in the country, and also open up new opportunities for domestic producers for trade cooperation with partners from EU countries.
During the ceremony, the parties noted their mutual readiness to work together to complete the necessary legal procedures for signing the EPCA and its entry into force, and following that to ensure its full and high-quality practical implementation.
Promoted by The Embassy of Uzbekistan in Brussels