Legal Market Overview
Despite initial doubts over new President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s ability to reduce Uzbekistan’s international isolation and improve the economy, his first two years in power have been largely positive, with both foreign and domestic policy reforms yielding tangible results. Uzbekistan created more than 336,000 new jobs in 2017, and the volume of exports increased by almost 15%. There has also been a substantial rise in interaction abroad, with plans to build two hydroelectric plants with Tajikistan in addition to negotiations with Afghanistan in August 2018 to discuss collaboration between the two countries.
A number of legislative changes have been made to protect businesses and the investment community; Chinese investment has increased, and there has been notable interest from Russia and Saudi Arabia. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has been welcomed back into the country, having been banished by the previous government. A drive to eradicate corruption and reduce tax rates for companies further demonstrates this movement to engage foreign investment and increase the attractiveness of Uzbekistan.
Work is divided between local and international firms in equal measure, with domestic firms such as Kosta Legal competing with the likes of Dentons and Kinstellar. An increase in clients following the entry of European and Canadian companies to the market has seen a corresponding rise in work for firms. This is most evident in the construction sector, where tax exemptions are most lucrative for building municipal infrastructure, and the hospitality sector, thanks to a huge rise in tourism. The signing of the $1.3bn agreement between SkyPower and the Government of Uzbekistan evidences a rise in renewable energy projects in the country and associated work for law firms.