TODAY.AZ / Business

Uzbekistan's cotton experience can stimulate Azerbaijan to diversify its export

27 February 2024 [08:30] - TODAY.AZ
By Azernews

Qabil Ashirov

Cotton cultivation played an important role in Azerbaijan and Central Asian countries during the Soviet period. However, after the disintegration of the USSR, the sector was discontinued due to internal and external issues, such as wars, losing markets, and so on. However, both Azerbaijan and the Central Asian countries reviewed their cotton policy in the 2000s and resumed work on it.

Soon cotton production was boosted in Azerbaijan and exports increased. Several cotton processing facilities were put into operation in Azerbaijan. However, simultaneously a miracle happened in Central Asia. A raw cotton exporter Uzbekistan turned into the textile hub. First, the country banned the export of cotton and later started to import raw cotton from neighboring countries. The textile sector in Uzbekistan increased to such an extent that even the raw cotton of neighboring countries could not match the demand and Uzbekistan started to import raw cotton from the USA.

Here poses a question if Azerbaijan can repeat the experience of Uzbekistan. Given that Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan cooperate in different sectors, it seems quite possible. Economist Eyyub Karimli also shares the same thoughts and believes that the experience of Uzbekistan can boost the textile sector in Azerbaijan. He emphasized that Uzbekistan is the sixth largest producer of cotton in the world and one of the most important players in cotton growing in the world market. Also, Uzbekistan used to be one of the most important cotton exporters in the world. He said that until 2017, the country earned up to one billion dollars from cotton exports. Until 2017, 40 percent of this cotton was processed in Uzbekistan, but this figure has already risen to 100 percent today. Even, currently, the cotton produced in the country is no longer able to provide the processing and textile industry of Uzbekistan, so the country has started importing cotton from neighboring countries such as Tajikistan and others for several years.

“At present, Uzbekistan has increased its import area and has already started importing cotton from America. This indicates that Uzbekistan has made a great leap in this field and has turned from a raw material exporter into an exporter of finished products that create added value. Almost 350 textile enterprises have operated in Uzbekistan since 2017, which has boosted Uzbekistan's textile exports. I would also like to mention that currently Uzbekistan's textile export covers Europe, Russia, and even Far Eastern countries and has begun to displace Turkish products in these markets,” Eyyub Karimly added.

He said that as a matter of course, Azerbaijan should also share the experience of Uzbekistan. The two countries have close economic cooperation. Karimly believes that Azerbaijan's cooperation with Uzbekistan in this field can only benefit our country and further expand our cooperation. As is known, there is also cotton production in Azerbaijan, but we have not been able to raise it to the level of Uzbekistan.

“It is a positive thing that a fraternal country has transformed from a raw material exporter to a textile exporter in such a short period and increased its production capacity. It goes without saying that there is a certain base in Azerbaijan regarding the textile industry. We can positively use this base. It is worth noting that Azerbaijan is geographically closer to Turkiye, one of the world's leading textile countries. Therefore, our possibilities are wider. I should mention that we can re-export the textiles of Uzbekistan or ensure the production of certain Uzbek companies in Azerbaijan,” the economist underscored.

He said if we look at the economy of Uzbekistan today, we can see that there are opportunities for activity in other areas. For example, in the field of machine building, in the production of household goods, etc. Uzbekistan is one of the important countries of its region. Therefore, we can benefit from these achievements of Uzbekistan by cooperating.

The economist said in conclusion that this can play an important role in the diversification of Azerbaijan's economy, as well.

URL: http://www.today.az/news/business/245369.html

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