The following article was contributed by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed.
A solemn ceremony was held in Tashkent for launching the project TradeUZ.com, the first National E-commerce Platform in Central Asia. The project was implemented by the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT).
The Republic of Korea is one of the key trade and economic partners of Uzbekistan. Trade turnover and the number of joint ventures have almost doubled in recent years. In this regard, the electronic trading platform tradeuz.com will become another link of joint activity in the field of digitalization and facilitate the entry of domestic manufacturers' products into foreign markets.
The launch of this platform has become a logical continuation of the ongoing transformations in the country in the field of widespread introduction of ICT's in all areas as well as support for digitalization by the state. The Presidential Decree "On the approval of the Strategy "Digital Uzbekistan-2030" and measures for its effective implementation" dated October 5, 2020, provides for a number of tasks for the active development of the digital economy, the widespread introduction of modern information and communication technologies in all sectors, including: public administration, healthcare, education, agriculture, trade and export-import operations. In particular, projects are being implemented that provide for the improvement of the e-government system, the further development of the domestic market of software products and information technologies, and others.
The electronic platform will allow small and medium-sized domestic companies to easily find proven and successful foreign partners online to organize the export of their products. What follows after that is the expansion of the geography of supplies as well as the development of the country's economy as a whole.
'The First National E-commerce Platform was developed jointly with partners from South Korea', - said Deputy Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Bakhtiyor Rakhimov. 'This year we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. We are bound by strategic cooperation, ties of friendship and traditions of good neighborliness.
The national electronic trading platform started to be developed in 2017, when President Shavkat Mirziyoyev made his first state visit to the Republic of Korea. Korean specialists in the field of ICT's and e-commerce together with domestic partners carefully studied the activities of local manufacturers, the conditions created in the country to small businesses as well as the possibilities of exporting goods and services to foreign markets in the online format. As a result, a digital platform was created where everyone can offer goods and services around the world. Benefits and preferences are provided. So, for entrepreneurs using tradeuz.com, income and turnover tax rates are reduced. All services for small and medium-sized enterprises of Uzbekistan are free of charge.
Bureaucratic delays are being eliminated: the execution of each contract is carried out within the electronic platform. It is possible to create a company website on this platform. Seminars and trainings on its use are held for interested entrepreneurs.
As of today, in the database tradeuz.com there is information about three thousand local exporters, ten thousand foreign buyers, as well as more than 30 thousand types of goods.
Reduced tax rates are one of the advantages that entrepreneurs receive when making transactions within the digital ecosystem', - said Ulugbek Tursunov, Director of the ICT Department of the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
'In particular, the reduction of the income tax rate to 50% until January 2024 as well as the subsequent reduction of this rate and turnover tax', - Tursunov further explained.
During the presentation, it was emphasized that the successful launch of the digital trading platform is intended to make a significant contribution to strengthening the position of Uzbekistan as a country setting high dynamics of e-commerce development in Central Asia.
Gratitude was expressed to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea, the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) for assistance in implementing such an important project.
'We have made an important step towards deepening cooperation between the two countries. This will serve to increase the volume of exports of competitive Uzbek products with high added value, which means the development of the country's economy', - Bakhtiyor Rakhimov stressed. 'I hope the parties will continue to work in an effort to unlock untapped potential in the field of digital technologies', - he added.
From July 1, the open digital ecosystem will be fully operational. Previously, it worked in a test mode. Its goal is to unite electronic trading platforms in order to increase the level of e-commerce in Uzbekistan.
Several large electronic trading platforms have already entered the digital ecosystem. Among them is the National E-Commerce Platform.
MIFT-ID will be developed within the digital ecosystem. This is a unified system for identifying entrepreneurs included in the ecosystem. Thus, companies will be able to add products to all marketplaces through a single system, as well as monitor purchases and sales of goods and services.
'We paid much attention to logistics. And this is just the beginning. We want to expand the logistics capabilities of our platform and attract global logistics companies to cooperate', - the Head of Department added.
An important task in this direction for developers was the organization of logistics routes around the world. Cargo will be transported by planes, trucks and by rail.
Monitoring of the open digital ecosystem will be handled by the Digital Transformation Center created under the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade. The Center will provide all e-commerce platforms with equal access to its database.