Uzbekistan-U. S. Economic Relations Problems and Perspectives — страница 5

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Central Asia, poor economic and social conditions are contributing to the appeal of extremist Islam in the volatile Ferghana Valley. We seek to head off conflict by improving infrastructure, creating employment opportunities, and helping develop and strengthen civil society. We are creating jobs through marketing assistance and establishing credit for agricultural processors. We are maintaining a high level of student and professional exchanges. Therefore the US presence in Uzbekistan, both military and economic can be seen as a positive factor in Uzbekistan’s economic development. On the other hand, the USA’s presence in the region did not prevent Afghanistan from becoming number one producer of narcotics (UN Press Release AFG/269 SOC/NAR/917 ), and notably a major portion

of this dreadful crop passes through Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan take pride for being at the crossroads of the ancient Great Silk Road that until the discovery of seaways, connected the East with the West. In reality, the ancient Great Silk Road has turned into an undercover Great Narcotics Road. Truckloads of narcotics are passing through Uzbekistan into other former Soviet republics and on to Europe. Below is a brief statistics on Afghan Narcotics Production: Table 11. Fact Sheet - Afghanistan Opium Survey 2004 2004 Variation On 2003 2003 Net opium poppy cultivation 131,000 ha + 64% 80,000 ha % of agricultural land 2.9% 1.6% number of provinces affected 32 (all) 28 Average opium yield 32 kg/ha 45 kg/ha Production of opium 4,200 mt +17% 3,600 mt % of world opium production 87% 76%

Households cultivating opium 356,000 + 35% 264,000 People cultivating opium 2.3 million 1.7 million % of total population (23 million) 10% 7% Average farm price of fresh opium $92/kg - 67% $283 Afghan export value of opium $2.8 billion + 22% $2.3 billion % of 2003 GDP ($ 4.6 billion) ~60% 50% - gross profits of Afghan traffickers $2.2 billion +69% $1.3 billion - farm value of opium production $0.6 billion - 41% $1.02 billion Yearly income to opium families $1,700 - 56% $3,900 Per capita income to opium families $ 260 - 56% $600 Afghanistan’s GDP per capita n.a. n.a. US$207 Gross income from opium per ha. $4,600 - 64% $12,700 Gross income from wheat per ha. $390 - 17% $470 Source: UN Press Release AFG/269 SOC/NAR/917 The figures are appalling. If we add to that the

words of Mr. Costa that “… drug developments in Afghanistan contradict trends in the rest of the world. Drug production is decreasing on every continent,” - then we can realize how horrible the situation is. Firstly, Uzbekistan is a major drug-trafficking route for the Afghan narcotics industry. Second, large portion of Afghan narcotics settles in Uzbekistan and causes numerous social and economic problems. It is well-known that corruption is widespread in Uzbekistan, and that comes handy for drug traffickers. Therefore, the USA has to commit some serious assistance in strengthening customs control at Uzbek-Afghan border - but to the date the USA did not get involved in this matter. U.S. Assistance to Uzbekistan – Fiscal Year 2004 (U.S. Department of State, 2004) Since

the independence was gained in 1991, Uzbekistan’s government has been overwhelmed with myriad of issues that it has to deal. This is explained by the fact that the government structure of Uzbekistan had been designed by the Soviet Headquarters in Moscow mainly as an executive body, with little or none authority for on-site problem solving. Although Uzbekistan’s government built itself many new offices, and re-named most of its former governing bodies, much of the government structure and its main executives remain the same. The fact that the U.S. financial assistance to Uzbekistan comes to predetermined fields makes it more effective. Another positive thing is that according to Section 568(a) of the FY 04 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act requires the Secretary of State

to determine that Uzbekistan is making “substantial and continuing” progress in meeting its commitments towards improving respect to human rights, ensuring free and fair elections (all the elections and referendums of Uzbekistan since the Independence had been criticized by international observers as unfair), multi-party system (Uzbek political life is still “owned” by People’s Democratic Party, former Communist party of Uzbekistan, headed by the President Karimov), freedom of speech and independence of media. For instance, in July 13, 2004 U.S. Department of State threatened to suspend its financial aid to Uzbekistan due to its poor record (Press Statement # 2004/766 of U.S. Department of State). Below is the information from the U.S. Department of State on how this