Chapter

UZBEKISTAN

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
September 2004
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(Position as of March 31, 2004)
Status Under IMF Articles of Agreement
Article VIIIDate of acceptance: October 15, 2003.
Exchange Arrangement
CurrencyThe currency of Uzbekistan is the Uzbek sum.
Exchange rate structure
UnitaryEffective October 15, 2003, Uzbekistan unified its exchange rate structure. Previously, there were three exchange rates: (1) an over-the-counter (OTC) rate, which was determined at an OTC-based interbank auction, and applied to surrendered portions of proceeds from noncentralized exports, foreign debt-service payments, and payments for licensed imports of goods and services (from June 16, 2003, imports of consumer goods had been effected at the OTC rate instead of the exchange bureau market rate); (2) an official rate used for statistical reporting, accounting, customs valuation, and the conversion of surrendered proceeds from cotton fiber exports, which had been established taking into account the OTC rate, changes in the money supply, and the domestic inflation rate; and (3) the exchange bureau market rate, which applied to individuals’ cash transactions and to imports of consumer goods (including payments for transport and communication).
Classification
Managed floating with no preannounced path for the exchange rateThe Central Bank of Uzbekistan (CBU) fixes the official rate on a weekly basis. Exchange rates are fixed relative to the dollar. Exchange rates for other currencies are determined from their cross rates vis-à-vis the dollar in the international market.
Exchange taxNo.
Exchange subsidyNo.
Forward exchange marketNo.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirements
Controls on the use of domestic currency
For capital transactions
Transactions in capital and money market instrumentsYes.
Transactions in derivatives and other instrumentsYes.
Credit operationsYes.
Use of foreign exchange among residentsThe use of foreign exchange for settlements and payments within Uzbekistan is prohibited, except for operations set forth in the Law on Foreign Exchange Regulation.
Payments arrangementsNo.
Administration of controlThe foreign exchange control authorities consist of the CBU, the MOF, the State Tax Committee, and the State Customs Committee. The Agency for Foreign Economic Relations (AFER) has the following main tasks: regulating foreign economic activities; protecting the economic interests of Uzbekistan in these activities; attracting foreign investments and providing for their effective use; developing trade, economic, and financial cooperation with foreign states and international institutions; creating conditions to improve the competitiveness of the national economy and its integration with the global economic system; and developing export potential. The Ministry of Justice registers enterprises for foreign investment activities.
International security restrictionsNo.
Payments arrearsNo.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)
Controls on domestic ownership and/or tradeYes.
Controls on external tradeGold is imported and exported on the basis of licenses issued by the AFER.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotesEffective March 1, 2004, resident and nonresident natural persons are permitted to import and export domestic currency in an amount not exceeding 50 times the minimum wage; larger amounts require CBU approval. CBU permission is required for authorized banks to import or export domestic banknotes; imports and exports by other juridical persons are prohibited.
On exports
Domestic currencyYes.
Foreign currencyResidents may export foreign currency up to the equivalent of $2,000 without restriction; amounts in excess of $2,000 up to $5,000 require an authorized bank’s permit; and in excess of $5,000 require CBU approval. Nonresidents may export foreign currency up to the amount imported and declared to customs; amounts in excess of this amount require documents from the CBU and an authorized bank confirming the right to export foreign currency.
On imports
Domestic currencyImports by residents and nonresidents are permitted up to an amount not exceeding 50 times the minimum wage.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedAll enterprises, regardless of the form of ownership, are allowed to open accounts in domestic and foreign currencies at various domestic banks. Individuals are also permitted to open foreign exchange accounts. Resident individuals may transfer abroad up to the equivalent of $5,000 from these accounts without restriction. Transfers exceeding this limit require documentary evidence that the payment is for a current international transaction. There is, however, no quantitative limit on these transfers.
Held domesticallyYes.
Held abroadThe opening and use of accounts abroad by resident natural and juridical persons require CBU approval and are permitted only for the period of stay or activity abroad, after which the accounts must be closed and the balances repatriated.
Accounts in domestic currency held abroadResident legal entities may open these accounts according to CBU procedures.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyYes.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedThese accounts may be opened by nonresident individuals temporarily in Uzbekistan, diplomatic and other official representatives of foreign states, international organizations, and representative offices of foreign organizations that do not engage in economic or commercial activities.
Domestic currency accountsThe regulations governing foreign exchange accounts apply.
Convertible into foreign currencyYes.
Blocked accountsLocal currency accounts of importers may be reserved (with their consent) by banks in anticipation of conversion into foreign exchange.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetNo.
Financing requirements for importsNo.
Advance payment requirementsOn October 1, 2003, the restrictions on advance payments were lifted. Previously, advance payments for imports were allowed up to 15% of the contract value against a counterpart bank guarantee from the correspondent bank, but not more than the equivalent of $100,000; advance payments exceeding $100,000 could be made with the permission of the cabinet of ministers; and advance payments could not be transferred to certain offshore zones or be used to settle services performed in these zones.
Advance import depositsEffective October 1, 2003, there are no advance import deposit requirements. Previously, importers who wished to acquire foreign exchange under an import contract had to deposit the equivalent amount in sum. This deposit was released only after a certification was made that the goods had actually been imported, but import contracts financed with centralized sources in sum were exempt from this certification requirement.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for importsEffective October 1, 2003, the requirement of preregistration of import contracts with the AFER was lifted. However, prior to conversion of funds, the AFER evaluates import contracts that are financed by the budget, financed by loans mobilized by or guaranteed by the government, or financed by loans concluded by entities that are more than 50% state-owned. Also effective this date, all contracts must be registered with the foreign exchange control division in the territorial offices of the State Customs Committee (SCC) within seven days after application is made to an authorized bank. Previously, all importers had to present a contract that had been preregistered with the AFER in order to purchase foreign exchange.
Preshipment inspectionImporters are entitled at their discretion to engage consulting firms for evaluation of contracts and execution of preshipment inspections or to apply to the AFER for evaluation of contracts based on the established procedure without a preshipment inspection. Preshipment inspection is mandatory for imports of meat and edible meat by-products; dairy products; oils, seeds, and fruits; alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages; tobacco products; equipment, mechanical devices, and electrical machinery; and equipment imported for the implementation of projects of the Republic of Uzbekistan Investment Program under contracts exceeding the equivalent of $10,000 in total value.
Letters of creditDocumentary letters of credit are used in import settlements.
OtherCertain consumer goods require health and quality certification. This certification is performed by the state agency Uzstandart.
Import licenses and other nontariff measuresImports of medicines require import licenses from the Ministry of Health. Imports of weapons, precious metals and stones, uranium, and other radioactive substances require import licenses from the AFER. Imports of foreign movies, videos, and audio recordings require import licenses from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Imports of ozone-depleting substances require a permit from the State Environmental Protection Committee. Individuals importing goods for commercial purposes within Uzbekistan must be registered as individual entrepreneurs and be authorized to engage in foreign activities and retail trade.
Foreign nationals must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population to engage in retail trade.
Positive listA positive list of consumer goods is maintained.
Negative listImports of the following are prohibited: printed matter, manuscripts, plates, drawings, photographs, photographic film, negatives, movies, video or audio products, phonograph records, and audio materials aimed at undermining state and social order, violating the country’s territorial integrity, political independence, or state sovereignty, or promoting war, terrorism, violence, national exclusivity, religious hatred, or racism and various forms thereof, and materials with pornographic content.
Other nontariff measuresTenders are held for imports of major food items (e.g., sugar and wheat). The Ministry of Health holds open tenders for imports of medicines needed to provide emergency medical assistance, and for imports of medicines for state needs. Closed tenders are held for imports of vaccines, serums, anesthetics, and narcotics.
Effective January 1, 2003, quantitative limits apply to imports of specific consumer goods by natural persons for personal use (previously, the limit was the equivalent of $1,000).
Import taxes and/or tariffsThe simple average customs tariff rate is 14.6% and the weighted average tariff rate is about 16.6%, based on total import volume, or 2.03%, based on total import volume, excluding duty-free items. Effective January 7, 2004, ad valorem customs duty rates are applied at four levels: zero, 5%, 10%, and 30% (previously, three levels applied: zero, 10%, and 30%) of the customs value. The zero level applies to listed machines, tools, and processing equipment (Cabinet Ministers Resolution No. 4). Of the 1,994 food group subheadings of the Foreign Economic Activity Commodity Nomenclature (at the nine-digit level), the zero rate applies to 1,011 subheadings, the 10% rate to 62, and the 30% rate to 750. One hundred subheadings (alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages) are subject to combined duty rates. In addition, an excise tax of between 5% and 90% is levied on 34 product groups. A VAT of 20% is levied on all imported goods, excluding the following: (1) equipment and materials (products and services) imported by legal entities and by nonresidents with borrowings and grants from international and foreign governmental financial and economic organizations under treaties or agreements; (2) equipment and materials (products and services) imported under budget appropriations based on orders from budget-supported organizations; (3) pharmaceuticals and medical products; and (4) computer hardware accessories and software. Effective March 12, 2004, this list was expanded to include the following: (1) processing equipment related to newly constructed and renovated enterprises producing consumer goods or to approved projects for building new or refurbishing operational plants, subject to verification by an authorized bank; (2) goods imported by foreign investors as part of their authorized capital investments; (3) pipes for the gas oil sectors; (4) imports of equipment by foreign investors for enterprises being privatized; (5) certain scientific and other equipment required by international agreements or for international technical cooperation; and (6) materials required for producing children’s shoes.
A levy amounting to 0.2% of customs value is collected for customs clearance of imported goods.
A special procedure applies for the collection of customs charges from natural persons. All payments of customs tariffs and fees, VAT, and excise duties are paid in the form of a unified customs charge of 40% for food and 70% for nonfood items. Effective January 1, 2003, this requirement was replaced with quantitative limits. Previously, individuals could bring in goods duty-free for their personal use up to the equivalent of $1,000.
On January 1, 2003, the 10% surcharge on imports of nonfood consumer goods by juridical persons was abolished. Effective this same date, a customs fee of 20% is collected on imports of nonfood consumer goods produced abroad, with the exception of those produced in countries bordering Uzbekistan.
State import monopolyImports of essential food products aimed at meeting public and state needs are effected by the Uzbeksavdo joint-stock company.
Exports and Export Proceeds
Repatriation requirementsYes.
Surrender requirementsFifty percent of proceeds in foreign currencies from exports of nontraditional goods and services must be surrendered to authorized banks (prior to the unification of the exchange market, this was effected at the OTC market exchange rate). Microfirms and small enterprises are allowed to retain foreign currency proceeds from exports of their products and services.
Proceeds in foreign exchange from centralized exports of cotton fiber must be surrendered in full to the CBU.
Financing requirementsSmall enterprises may export their products and services for cash foreign currency through a bank, with the proceeds credited to their accounts in accordance with the established procedure. Economic entities may export goods and services for convertible currencies without prepayment or the opening of an LC, provided that there is a guarantee from the buyer’s bank or an insurance policy protecting export contracts against political and commercial risk. Enterprises are allowed to export their goods on a consignment basis to their trading houses abroad.
Documentation requirements
Letters of creditYes.
GuaranteesYes.
Export licensesExports of weapons, precious metals, uranium, and other radioactive materials require licenses from the AFER. Exports of listed animals and plants require licenses from the AFER that are issued on the basis of a permit from the State Environmental Protection Committee. Professional activities abroad by Uzbek citizens require a permit from the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population. Exports of research products require licenses from the State Committee on Science and Technology, and exports of works of art require licenses from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Exports of antiques and works of art, livestock and poultry, meat, raw hides, scrap metal, waste of nonferrous metal, silkworm cocoons and raw silk, sugar, vegetable oil, wheat, and milling industry products are prohibited.
With quotasExports of crude oil, gas condensate, linen and cotton yarn, and ferrous metals are subject to export licensing within the limits of established quotas. Exports of sugar, vegetable oil, wheat and milling industry products, meat and poultry, raw hides and skins, powdered milk, antiques, scrap metal, silkworm cocoons, and raw silk are prohibited.
Export taxesEffective August 15, 2003, the procedure of using foreign exchange conversion to collect taxes was eliminated.
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfers
Trade-related payments
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Investment-related payments
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Payments for travelPer diem limits apply.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Personal payments
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Foreign workers’ wagesNonresident individuals may convert wages received in domestic currency. Wages received in foreign exchange may be remitted on a one-time basis to accounts held abroad, subject to the limits on exports of foreign currency.
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Credit card use abroad
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Other payments
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsYes.
Surrender requirementsProceeds from exports of services are subject to the same surrender requirements as those applying to proceeds from exports of goods.
Restrictions on use of fundsNo.
Capital Transactions
Controls on capital transactionsYes.
Controls on capital and money market instruments
On capital market securities
Shares or other securities of a participating nature
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsThe placement of securities of foreign issuers in Uzbekistan is based on annual quotas assigned by the Cabinet of Ministers, in accordance with the Law on Securities and the Stock Market.
Purchase abroad by residentsThese transactions are governed by the statute “On the Procedure for the Admission, Registration, and Placement of Securities of Foreign Issuers on the Territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan and of Uzbek Issuers Abroad.”
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
On collective investment securitiesControls apply on all transactions in collective investment securities.
Controls on derivatives and other instrumentsn.r.
Controls on credit operationsAll credit and guarantee operations are subject to controls. Borrowings guaranteed by the government must be registered with the MOF; other borrowings must be registered with the CBU.
Controls on direct investmentThere are no restrictions on attracting foreign investment or on exercising foreign ownership. Similarly, foreign investments may be repatriated freely.
Outward direct investmentInvestors may establish enterprises abroad upon decision of the legal entity’s top management body. The AFER must be notified of the registration of an enterprise abroad.
Inward direct investmentInvestors may establish foreign investment enterprises (FIE), which are a form of direct investment, after their registration with the Ministry of Justice and its regional offices. Enterprises may acquire FIE status subject to the following conditions: (1) the authorized capital of the enterprise must be at least the equivalent of $150,000; (2) one of the participants in the enterprise must be a foreign legal entity; and (3) the share of foreign investment must be at least 30% of the enterprise’s authorized capital.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentThe Ministry of Justice and its regional offices monitor the FIEs’ compliance with their statutory obligations and the procedures for their registration and liquidation.
Controls on real estate transactions
Purchase locally by nonresidentsThe procedures for nonresidents’ acquisition and sale of real estate are established by the cabinet of ministers.
Sale locally by nonresidentsThe procedures relating to local purchases by nonresidents apply.
Controls on personal capital transactions
Transfer of assets
Transfer abroad by emigrantsYes.
Transfer into the country by immigrantsYes.
Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutions
Borrowing abroadYes.
Maintenance of accounts abroadYes.
Lending to nonresidents (financial or commercial credits)Yes.
Lending locally in foreign exchangeThese transactions are subject to the limit on the open foreign exchange position.
Differential treatment of deposit accounts in foreign exchange
Reserve requirementsReserve requirements apply only to domestic currency-denominated deposits held by enterprises.
Liquid asset requirementsYes.
Investment regulations
Abroad by banksYes.
In banks by nonresidentsYes.
Open foreign exchange position limits
On resident assets and liabilitiesYes.
On nonresident assets and liabilitiesYes.
Provisions specific to institutional investorsn.r.
Other controls imposed by securities lawsNo.
Changes During 2003
Status under IMF Articles of AgreementOctober 15. Uzbekistan accepted the obligations of Article VIII, Sections 2, 3, and 4 of the Articles of Agreement.
Exchange arrangementJune 16. Imports of consumer goods were effected at the OTC rate (previously, at the exchange bureau market rate).
October 15. The exchange rates were unified.
Imports and import paymentsJanuary 1. Quantitative limits for imports of specific consumer goods by natural persons for personal use were imposed, replacing a previous limit of the equivalent of $1,000.
January 1. The 10% surcharge on imports of nonfood consumer goods by juridical persons was abolished.
January 1. A 20% customs fee was imposed on nonfood consumer goods produced in countries not bordering Uzbekistan.
October 1. The restrictions on advance payments were lifted. Previously, advance payments were limited to 15% of the contract value up to the equivalent of $100,000.
October 1. The requirement of a 100% advance deposit prior to importation was lifted.
October 1. Prior to conversion of funds, the AFER was authorized to evaluate officially financed contracts, officially mobilized or guaranteed loans, and loans concluded by ent ties that are more than 50% state-owned.
October 1. The preregistration of import contracts with the AFER was revoked. However all import contracts were required to be registered with the territorial foreign exchange control division of the SCC within seven days after application is made to an authorized bank.
Exports and export proceedsAugust 15. The procedure of using foreign exchange conversion to collect taxes was abolished.
Changes During 2004
Arrangements for payments and receiptsMarch 1. Resident and nonresident natural persons were allowed to import and export domestic banknotes up to the equivalent of 50 times the minimum wage without CBU approval.
Imports and import paymentsJanuary 7. The number of ad valorem customs rates was increased to four (zero, 5%, 10 and 30%) from three (zero, 10%, and 30%), with the zero rate being applicable to listed machines, tools, and processing equipment.
March 12. The list of goods on which the import VAT does not apply was expanded.

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