To reaffirm friendly relations and discuss opportunities for more cooperation between Singapore and Uzbekistan, a roundtable was co-organised by RSIS, the International Institute for Central Asia and the Uzbekistan Embassy on 10 January 2023. The event also explored perspectives on enhancing inter-regional ties between ASEAN and Central Asia. It preceded a state visit by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan from 16 to 17 January 2023.
The roundtable featured speakers from institutions representing both countries. Speakers from RSIS, the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), and the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) discussed opportunities in future-oriented industries, food imports, halal trade and Islamic financial services. Uzbekistan could be a gateway for Singapore businesses to penetrate the burgeoning Central Asian market. Singapore could share its experience as a global financial hub with Uzbekistan, which plans to open an international financial centre in Tashkent. Furthermore, Singapore could share its expertise on public sector reforms and exchange knowledge with Uzbekistan on food security and supply chain resilience. However, there has to be better connectivity between both countries and greater awareness of Uzbekistan as a new frontier before bilateral trade could grow further.
Speakers from Uzbek institutions discussed the benefits of boosting relations with Singapore to bring Central and Southeast Asia closer through trade links. There are opportunities for partnerships in the environment and water industry, and research and development in the renewable energy sector. The speakers also highlighted growing external interest in Central Asia and how China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and the United Nations (UN) are international platforms to help enhance the region’s development, connectivity, and security.
The roundtable concluded with a discussion co-chaired by RSIS Executive Deputy Chairman Ambassador Ong Keng Yong and Uzbekistan Ambassador to Singapore Kakhramon Shakirov.