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Uzbekistan shows 'interest' in US alternative to Belt and Road project

8 July 2020

Translation by BBC Monitoring International Reports

Uzbekistan intends to sign up to the new standard of transparent investments in the infrastructure called "Blue Dot Network", says a joint statement by the governments of Uzbekistan and the United States on further expanding cooperation in the sphere of investments and infrastructure development.

The statement was made following a visit to Uzbekistan by Chief Executive Officer of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Adam Boehler on 29 June-1 July.

The sides confirmed their interest in implementing special programmes to support private entrepreneurship, regularly collaborate to identify and implement strategic infrastructure projects in Uzbekistan in the spheres of energy, transport, education and healthcare on the basis of principles of public-private partnership involving DFC funds.

"The DFC welcomed Uzbekistan's intention and interest to become a part of the Blue Dot Network initiative, designed to stimulate the flow of long-term foreign investments in projects which meet international standards of development, including openness, transparency and financial sustainability," the statement said.

The sides also confirmed mutual aspiration to supporting peace and stability as well as to efforts on economic recovery of Afghanistan by expanding trade, economic, transport and energy relations between Afghanistan and Central Asia.

During the talks with Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Sardor Umurzoqov, an agreement was reached to continue the discussion of creating a regional fund with Central Asian countries as well as Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The US will look at the issue of whether or not the capital declared by each country is relevant to the goals of supporting investments of the private sector.

It was stressed that it was important to join efforts to implement key infrastructure projects in the Central Asian region, "which ensure long-term economic sustainability, food and environmental security".

The Blue Dot Network infrastructure project, which, actually, is a response to the Chinese project "One Belt - One Road", was announced by the US, Australia and Japan in 2019. The Chinese initiative provides for financing projects, while the American project BDN is more of a guarantor of the quality of infrastructure projects.

A project, which gets certification within Blue Dot Network, is likely to get fully-fledged financing from a number of American financing institutions.