Diplomatic relations were established between Uzbekistan and Estonia on 10 October 1994. The first Estonian Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Simmu Tiik, presented his credentials to the Uzbekistani Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elyor Ganiev, on 12 October 2011.
Currently, Estonia is represented in Uzbekistan by Ambassador Tõnis Nirk, who presented his credentials to Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov on February 20, 2015. The Ambassador resides in Riga. Uzbekistan has not appointed its ambassador to Estonia. Estonia is included in the consular area of the Uzbekistani Embassy in Riga.
There have been two high-level visits.
The official visit of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip to Uzbekistan took place from November 1-3, 2010. The objective of the visit was to establish contacts and relations with the leaders of Uzbekistan in order to facilitate the further development of relations. The prime minister was accompanied by a business delegation and a business seminar was held in the framework of the visit.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet was on an official visit to Uzbekistan on March 27-28, 2014, where he met with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and Minister of Foreign Economic Affairs, Investments and Trade Elyor Ganiev. The Foreign Minister was accompanied by a delegation of business representatives. Estonian Foreign Minister Paet and Minister Ganiev of Uzbekistan opened a business forum in Tashkent.
There have been more contacts on the level of officials. Estonia has organised seminars and courses for Uzbekistani officials, mainly on the subject of the World Trade Organisation (2001 and 2004). In September 2015, in collaboration with the United States, the Foreign Ministry organized a study trip to Tallinn for representatives of Uzbekistan's export control bodies. There has also been cooperation with the UNDP, in passing on Estonian practise to Uzbeck officials. Most recently, Estonia's E-Governance Academy organised a e-study trip for justice professionals from Uzbekistan in November 2015. In 2014 and 2015, Estonia supported activities carreid out by UNESCO to develop media quality and the communication sector in Uzbekistan. Estonian experts shared their experiences within this framework as well.
In April 2012, the first consultations between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries took place in Tashkent. The Estonian delegation was led by the Foreign Ministry' sDirector General of the Political Department, Sander Soone and the Uzbekistani delegation by First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vladirimi Norov. On September 27, 2012, the Estonian and Uzbekistani Foreign Ministers met in New York within the framework on the UN General Assembly and signed the Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation.
One bilateral agreement has entered into force. The Convention between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (23.12.2013).
The trade turnover between Uzbekistan and Estonia from 2005 to 2013, formed roughly 0.1% of Estonia’s overall trade turnover. While in 2005 trade turnover amounted to 6 million euros, in 2006-2008 and in 2010 it was 10.2-10.8 million euros. In 2011 and 2012, the trade turnover exceeded 5 million euros. In 2013, export to Uzbekistan started to grow again and Uzbekistan was in 61st place among Estonia's trade partners with a turnover of 10 million euros, of which exports accounted for the majority, or 9.9 million euros (51st export destination). In 2014, trade grew further and totalled 14 million euros, of which exports accounted for the majority (13.9 million euros). Exports grew mainly due to growth in exports of machinery and equipment.
In 2015, the trade turnover between the two countries was 10.8 million euros, of which exports accounted for the majority (10.5 million euros). Among export partners, Uzbekistan was in 50th place (0.1% of total exports).
Trade from 2010 to 2015, million EUR:
Source: Statistics Estonia
The main export articles in 2015:
- Machinery and equipment (computers, various engine parts, telephones, electrical switching devices and their parts) – 21.8%
- Mineral products (petroleum oils) – 21.4%
- Animal and vegetable fats (canola and colza oil) – 15.4%
The main import articles in 2015:
- Vegetable products (melons and papayas, grapes) – 73%
- Prepared food products and beverages – 24%
According to the Bank of Estonia, the Uzbekistan's direct investments to Estonia amounted to 3.75 million euros as of September 30, 2015. Investments had been made mainly into transport and warehousing, wholesale and retail trade, but also administrative and support work, financial and insurance activities, less in manufacturing, the information and communications sector, professional, scientific and technical activities, and real estate.
As of the same date, Estonia’s investments in Uzbekistan were smaller, but the data cannot be disclosed due to data protection rules. The investments have been made in the manufacturing sector.
According to the Commercial Register, as of April 2, 2015, there were 20 companies with Uzbekistani shareholders registered in Estonia.
In recent years, Uzbekistan has invited representatives from Estonia to participate in their annual folklore and music festivals. Triinu Taul represented Estonia in August of 2013 at the International Uzbek Folk Music Contest and Festival "Sharq taronalari" in Samarkand, where she won the Special Jury Prize as a young and talented musician. Silver Sepp attended the same festival in August of 2015 and shared second place with the Poland band Chełm. The international jury chose to award the Grand Prix prize to the Chinese ensemble Jiangsu Women's Orchestra. First prize went to the Japanese ensemble Shamisen.
Uzbeks in Estonia
According to the 2011 census, there were 116 people of Uzbek nationality living in Estonia.
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