Sardor Umurzakov: Cotton Campaign activists are our partners

25.02.2020 10:41

TASHKENT, February 25. /“Dunyo” IA/. Last week the Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov held a press-conference devoted to the Tashkent International Investment Forum.

“Dunyo” IA correspondent asked the Minister to comment on the relations with Cotton Campaign Global Coalition as a part of efforts to improve the investment climate of Uzbekistan.

The last visit of the coalition delegation happened in early February. Within it, members of the delegation met with the Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade to discuss Uzbekistan’s progress in eradicating forced labor and further steps to strengthen cooperation in the respective area.

While commenting on the outcomes of the meeting, Sardor Umurzakov noted that the Ministry works systematically with Cotton Campaign to build a trustworthy relationship.

“In that meeting I tried to explain that boycott on textile products from international brands is not tenable, not justified and hinders the development of private business in the Republic,” said Umurzakov. “Currently, the government is not involved in textile industry. The whole area belongs to private sector.”

To add up to this, he reaffirmed that no systemic and systematic forced labor cases have been registered in Uzbekistan.

“The country is taking revolutionary steps in combating forced labor. Particularly, wages for cotton picking are being raised, fines for forced labor are also increasing, cluster system is being introduced to agriculture sector, and moreover, forced labor is being criminalized,” he noted.

“From 2021, the plan for the sale of grain to the state will be completely revoked, and the products will be sold at market prices. Despite this, the country does not deny individual cases of forced labor. Moreover, I personally asked Cotton Campaign activists to share information on those individual cases to pass them to competent entities for further investigation,” reiterated the Minister.

In conclusion, Sardor Umurzakov said that thanks to close collaboration, he sees Cotton Campaign activists as partners of Uzbekistan.

It is expected that Cotton Campaign will release the outcome of 2019 cotton picking season in Uzbekistan in spring.

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