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Interview with AUCC Chairperson Carolyn Lamm Before 2012 Uzbekistan-US Annual Business Forum

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Cooperation ties are established with international textile brands

www.uzdaily.com/en
31 January 2021

On 29 January 2021, in cooperation with the American-Uzbek Chamber of Commerce and with the participation of experts, international organizations, representatives of foreign countries, leading world textile brands, international financial institutions and development partners, as well as business associations, an online business conference was held on the topic "Sustainable supplies from Uzbekistan".

The conference was attended by the Chairman of the American-Uzbek Chamber of Commerce Carolyn Lamm, the US Deputy Trade Representative Christopher Wilson, the Assistant US Deputy Secretary of Labor Mark Mittelhauser, as well as more than 200 representatives of the business community, including the leaders of global textile brands such as Adidas. GAP, Macy’s, Target, Creative Sportswear Group Inc., Common Objective, Morrisons, Egis International and others.

From the Uzbek side, the event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov, the leadership of the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations and the Uztekstilprom Association.

During the conference, the Uzbek side made a detailed presentation of the results of the transformations carried out by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, including in the field of improving working conditions and preventing forced labor, as well as outlined the preconditions for establishing cooperation between foreign brands and cotton and textile clusters of Uzbekistan, introducing international standards in the production of textile products.

During the panel session, presentations were made by Senior Technical Advisor to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Jonas Astrup, CEO of Silverleaf Dan Patterson and a number of other experts.

ILO representatives presented an annual report on the results of monitoring the implementation of the cotton campaign in Uzbekistan in 2020, which recorded significant progress in eliminating systematic child and forced labor in the cotton harvest compared to the previous season. It was especially noted that, for the first time in the history of Uzbekistan, not a single case of forced labor was recorded in certain regions of the Republic.

The ILO experts also emphasized the fact of the transition of a number of textile clusters in Uzbekistan to the full mechanization of cotton picking, which at the same time excludes the possibility of violation of labor rights and forms the preconditions for creating additional jobs in the production of products with high added value.

Speaking during the conference, the head of Silverleaf Dan Patterson shared his successful experience in Uzbekistan. According to him, "the reforms in the country have become irreversible and are already yielding significant results." He called on foreign brands to actively cooperate with Uzbek cotton and textile clusters, the technological level of development of which allows them to provide systemic supplies of quality, competitive products that meet international standards and the requirements of world brands.

Within the framework of the event, a presentation of the report of the company “Xenophon Strategies” on the environmental, social and management aspects of investing in Uzbekistan was organized. This report is a reference guide for domestic and international investors, including institutional investors and global businesses, interested in forging business partnerships in Central Asia. Published in English, the report draws on international reporting standards, primarily the standards set by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) and the World Bank (Sovereign ESG Data Framework). This document is available for review on the dedicated website “www.changeinuzbekistan.com”.

Also during the event, a question and answer session was held, in which representatives of a number of brands, such as Common Objective, Exocyte Limited, Echomood, KatBro Corporation and Stellar Partners Limited, were able to receive detailed information about the opportunities investment in Uzbekistan, current export geography, production volumes and targets for further development of the textile industry in Uzbekistan.