There are lists of 'non-priority' goods for which no authorization is granted (for some food products and drinks). There is another 'negative list' which includes certain high quality textiles, carpets, crystals, foodstuffs for dogs and cats and tourist cars. Imports of medicines, firearms, precious metals, uranium and other radioactive products, foreign and "research data" movies and videos are submitted to a very strict import authorization. The import of publications, manuscripts, video, audio and photo instruments "likely to do harm to the State and the Social order", as well as pornographic material are prohibited. Export is also strictly regulated : in principle, cereals, bakery products, meat and live animals, milk powder, tea, sugar, etc. cannot be exported.
The registration of an import contract for a value equal or less than 50 000 USD, is done within 5 working days after its submission at the Uzbek Ministry for Exterior Economic Relations. For a value greater than 50 000 USD, the registration is done within 10 working days after its declaration. For an import contract that has been appraised and depending on the quantity and quality of the delivery as well as the price level, registration should be carried out within 2 working days from the time of submission of documents, except if prior authorization is required. After a final positive decision, the contract is registered in the official register according the type of registration certificate of the contract.
Despite rapidly developing supermarket retail networks in big cities, independent small grocers remain the largest channel in the grocery retailer sector, accounting for 48% of total retail sales. This is explained by the history of Uzbekistan’s retail market development, where there were no major investors, and food retailing was supported by a lot of independent small operators. This led to a tremendous increase in number of independent small retailers compared to other outlet types. The distribution of imported consumer goods is mainly carried out in souks and wholesale markets. Exchange rate restrictions have caused a decrease in the number of importers and in Western consumer goods imports. Given that a few importers have access to foreign currencies, they de facto become distributors of the products in question. Importer/distributor companies have to open at least one shop to obtain foreign currencies. They distribute through their shop and can also sell to traders who resell the items in souks.
Traditional grocery shops in Uzbekistan are usually small in size and employ fewer than 5-6 people. Normally, Uzbekistan consumers shop for food daily, and much of the shopping is still done in traditional markets, including farmers markets (bazaars) and small grocery stores. At the same time, supermarkets in larger cities are becoming more popular among consumers. The total number of supermarkets has increased by 20% over the last 6 years and reached almost 1,600 outlets in 2016. The retail sales share of supermarkets is expected to continue to increase in the future. Many existing supermarkets in Uzbekistan have successfully tapped the fresh food market by offering foods at relatively competitive prices and providing a comfortable shopping environment.
There are two dominant supermarket chains in Uzbekistan: - Anglesey Food: is one of the biggest local holding companies successfully developing its supermarket business. It consists of numerous independent retail outlets, all under chain retailing. In supermarkets and non-store retailing, the company is well-known under the Korzinka.uz brand. Its main business is retailing and it focuses mainly on daily consumption products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, packaged food, beverages, semi-ready food products, as well as home care items. - Beijan Trade, which owns the two largest malls: “Mega Planet” which was constructed in Tashkent city in 2010, and “Samarkand Darvoza” which was opened in 2014. Beijan Trade also operates supermarkets under the MAKRO brand.
By the end of 2017, Uzbekistan had a population of 32.64 million people, out of which 15.45 million were Internet users, placing the penetration rate at 47.7% (Uzbekistan National News Agency). 51% of users access the Internet through their smartphones, 47% go online using computers (both desktops and laptops), and 2% use their tablets. Growing mobile penetration has been playing a critical role in improving Internet access. However, service is still expensive, and broadband speeds are low, which curbs internet use. With the goal of increasing Internet access, Uzbektelekom plans on introducing modern fibre optic technologies, which will reach distant regions in the country, including over 2 thousand kilometres of fibre that was installed in 2017. In 2017, there were 21.38 million (70% of the population) mobile connections in Uzbekistan, out of which 42% were either 3G or 4G. Uzbeks prefer pre-paid connections, which represent 97% of all mobile connections, while only 3% of them were post-paid. According to Freedom House, Uzbekistan has one of the most tightly controlled online environments in the world. However, the government has been taking an interest on e-commerce, particularly with a "social web solution" that seeks to expand the scale of e-commerce and make it more convenient for social services to be provided online (Uz Daily). As of July 2018, the most popular browsers in the country by market share were Chrome (53.69%), followed by UC Browser (19.99%), Opera (5.62%), Samsung Internet (4.61%), Firefox (4.52%), and Safari (3.88%). As for search engines, Google was the most popular one in Uzbekistan, with a market share of 71.87%, followed by Yandex RU (24.02%) and Mail.ru (2.64%).
E-commerce is still underdeveloped in Uzbekistan, and it is only now starting to become a priority. In May 2018, the Uzbek President signed a decree "On measures for the accelerated development of e-commerce", and approved the "Program for the Development of E-commerce in Uzbekistan for 2018-2021". As a result, the market is expected to grow significantly in the next few years. Nevertheless, given that e-commerce is still rather uncharted in Uzbekistan, there aren't any official numbers on the market value or revenue. The main barriers to development of e-commerce in the country are insufficient electronic banking services, conversion limitations and underdeveloped trade and customs regulations. The capital, Tashkent, is currently the only viable e-commerce market in the country, as it's home to 90% of Uzbek internet users. On the other hand, the increasing number of mobile internet access contributes to the potential for e-commerce growth, and moderate to strong growth is expected in mobile broadband use over the next five years. However, at the moment mobile e-commerce is not widespread in Uzbekistan and is still developing. According to Euromonitor International, the increasing use of Internet services and the competition among internet providers is driving down prices. Arbauz led online sales in 2016 with 11% value share, broad product variety, and strong promotional campaigns. Other popular e-commerce websites include OLX, AliExpress, and Amazon. The most popular products purchased online are health and beauty products, electronics, clothing and shoes. As for cross-border e-commerce, Chinese and Turkish products are the most popular ones among Uzbeks. Online payment is done through the use of bank cards linked to smartphones, although the majority of transactions are still done by cash.
Organizing Goods Transport
Main Useful Means of Transport
Being far from all maritime outlets, Uzbekistan has a railway network that is still very much oriented towards the ex-USSR. It is currently developing its road network.
The principal industrial sectors are the textiles, foodstuffs, metallurgy and chemicals sectors. The last few years, the telecommunications and automobile sectors saw a remarkable development. Uzbekistan is the third producer of gas among the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) states.
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