Country Series: Republic of Uzbekistan

In order to promote Pakistan’s trade with its non-traditional trading partners, the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) since 2015 has been doing a Country Profile Series aimed at introducing non-traditional markets to Pakistan’s exporters. This is the first publication of the Central Asia Country Series and features the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The Republic of Uzbekistan is a Central Asian country bordered by five landlocked countries. It is also one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world. It covers a total area of 447,400 km2 and has a population of 31.8 million, 88% of whom are Muslim.

The table below shows a comparison between the Uzbek and Pakistani economies. Even though Uzbekistan is the largest country in Central Asia in terms of population, it’s population is still roughly a seventh of Pakistan’s. Pakistan’s GDP is also much larger than Uzbekistan’s. However, Uzbekistan has a larger GDP per capita than Pakistan’s.

Pakistan Uzbekistan 
Population 207,774,520 – (2017) Census 31,848,200.00 – (2016) Estimate
Year 2014 2015 2016 2014 2015 2016
GDP (Current US$ billions) 244.36 271.05 283.66 63.07 66.9 67.22
GDP per capita (Current US$) 1316 1431 1468 2,050 2,138 2,111
GDP growth (%) 4.7 4.7 5.7 7.8 8 7.8
Inflation 7.2 2.5 3.8 9.1 8.5 8
Official exchange rate (US$, period average) 101 103 105 2422 2810 3218

The Uzbek economy is an agriculture-oriented economy with cotton as its main crop; it is the fifth largest cotton exporter. Being heavily endowed with natural resources such as gold and natural gas; it is the 9th largest producer of gold. Uzbekistan earns large sums of foreign exchange by exporting its natural resources. According to the Doing Business Index, Uzbekistan ranks 87th in the world as of 2017.

Uzbekistan does most of its trade with China and Russia. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan is the largest trading partner amongst the Central Asian Republics. Switzerland has recently become the top export destination for Uzbek goods, exports to Switzerland totaled $2.8 billion in 2016, mainly dominated by gold. Other major exports include mineral fuels, cotton and copper. Uzbekistan’s imports comprise mainly of machinery, mechanical appliance and vehicles.

Trade with Pakistan has been very erratic due to fluctuations in exports to Pakistan. In 2016, Uzbekistan’s trade deficit with Pakistan was $0.15 million as the imports and exports stood at $3.38 and $3.22 million respectively. The trade between the two countries is minimal considering the indicative potential trade. Pakistan’s potential exports to Uzbekistan are $9.14 million while the potential imports from Uzbekistan are $6.98 billion. Major exports to Pakistan include cotton, plastics, salts and earthly stones, and vegetables. Meanwhile, major imports from Pakistan are pharmaceutical products, photography and cinematography equipment, other various textile and agricultural products.