AHMEDABAD: Gujarat-based companies are actively exploring investment opportunities in pharmaceuticals and textile sectors in Uzbekistan as the central Asian country offers them huge potential.
“There is huge scope for pharma manufacturing in Uzbekistan as we import 70% of pharma products from across the globe, including India,” said Farhod Arziev, Uzbekistan’s ambassador to India. “We grow more than 1,000 medicinal plants, which are used in making active pharma ingredients (APIs).”
To attract investments in the pharmaceutical sector, Uzbek-Indian Free Pharmaceutical Zone is being developed in Andijan region in Uzbekistan. This project was among the 17 agreements that were signed during the Uzbekistan president Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s recent visit to India.
“Apart from providing infrastructure facilities such as roads, electricity and water supply, tax incentives will be offered to companies,” added Arziev, who was in Ahmedabad to promote Uzbek-Indian free pharmaceutical zone. In addition, the companies with manufacturing base in Uzbekistan get duty free access to other CIS countries. “Given the heavy dependence on China for sourcing APIs, it makes economic sense to set up a plant in Uzbekistan and bring back APIs produced there to India,” said Viranchi Shah, chairman, Gujarat State Board, Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA). “The land is free and electricity as well as labour cost is cheaper than India.” A high-level delegation comprising a central government minister, officials and IDMA members visited Uzbekistan this year to assess the investment potential.
Stating that Uzbekistan is among the top cotton producing countries in the world, the ambassador said that representatives of a couple of textile companies from Gujarat have already visited Uzbekistan to explore business opportunities. “Milk products, solar energy, jewellery and auto components are other prominent potential areas for Indian companies in Uzbekistan,” he said.
As far as Gujarat is concerned, Arziev said that Uzbekistan has also signed an agreement for direct partnership between Gujarat and Andijan region. “Uzbekistan has become a partner country for the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit. This for the first time a large delegation from Uzbekistan will visit the summit,” he said.