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AUCC and Uzbekistan: Uzbek Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov's first visit to South Carolina

aucconline.com
26 June 2018
AUCC and Uzbekistan: Uzbek Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov's first visit to South CarolinaGreenville Roundtable

AUCC and Uzbekistan: Uzbek Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov's first visit to South Carolina by Elena Son, Executive Director, AUCC

AUCC was delighted to accompany Uzbek Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov and his Trade and Investment Counselor Kamol Muhtarov on their first official trip to South Carolina on June 19-20.  Huge thanks to George Pickart of GE for traveling to Greenville and giving us a tour of their facility.  The Ambassador was truly impressed by the innovation and technological precision of the GE's plant.  We then left for a business roundtable organized by Dorette Coetsee of SC Department of Commerce and hosted by Upstate SC Alliance led by John Lummus and his great staff: Tiffany Tate and Elizabeth Feather.  Since AUCC has no presence in SC, we were assisted by 2 great Grenville-based organizations - Samantha Spratt of EACC and Tracie Frese of Upstate International/World Affairs Council.  To the ambassador's delight and surprise, the participants demonstrated keen interest in Uzbekistan and asked questions about compliance, procurement and his views on the bilateral cooperation.  We were fortunate to have Nutra GNC on the agenda after the roundtable as healthcare and wellbeing of the Uzbek population (more than 30m) is of concern to President Mirziyoyev and his government.  It was an eye-opening experience for all of us on the tour to see how Fish Oil and other vitamins were made.  As a consumer, it was a great opportunity to learn firsthand what companies do to take care of our healthy state of being.  

The Ambassador is a strong supporter of the bilateral educational ties and his breakfast meeting in Columbia, SC with the USC faculty was very promising.  Hopefully, there will be an MoU followed by a series of exchanges and courses taught by the USC professors.  Uzbekistan will benefit enormously from the solid academic base that the USC has to offer and will be able to attract more foreign investments as a result.  The foreign investment theme was a highlight of the Ambassador's conversation with Amy Thompson of the SC Department of Commerce. Volvo, BMW and Samsung are just a few that operate in SC and provide jobs to many.  In the Ambassador's view, Uzbekistan can learn a lot from the state on how to attract foreign businesses to his homeland.  The second business roundtable organized by Dickson Monk of the World Affairs Council was the opportunity for the Ambassador to raise greater awareness about Uzbekistan and its interest as well as strong purchasing power in buying American-made equipment and technology.  This message was also conveyed to the management of Tyson Foods which kindly agreed to host the Ambassador and give him a tour of their immaculately clean and pristine meat processing facility.  

There is no doubt that Uzbekistan is a buzzword in DC.  It is yet to gain its momentum outside of the Beltway and the Ambassador's first visit to SC was a groundbreaking experience.  AUCC will continue to work on organizing similar visits to other states.  We would like to encourage companies that are new to Uzbekistan to contact us and share your ideas for the next visit.  We will be happy to bring the Ambassador to your state.