Uzbekistan has no regulations governing production, importation or labeling of bio-engineered products. A draft law is still under discussion, although implementation is not expected in the near future.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: UX1105
Uzbekistan - Republic of
Agricultural Biotechnology Annual
Rachel Nelson, Agricultural Attache
Nizam Yuldashbaev, Agricultural Specialist
Uzbekistan has no regulations governing production, importation or labeling of bio-engineered
products. A draft law is still under discussion, although implementation is not expected in the near
Uzbekistan does not commercially grow any transgenic crops nor does it have regulations in place
affecting imports of these products. There are no regulations concerning biotechnology-related labeling
of processed food products. As a major cotton producer Uzbekistan could benefit from planting BT
U.S. agricultural trade to Uzbekistan is hampered by Uzbekistan?s complex trade regime based on an
import-substitution policy and aided by high tariffs and transportation costs to this double-landlocked
country. U.S. agricultural exports have averaged only $1.43 million over the past three calendar years
(2008-2010), mostly soybeans, planting seeds, and some dairy products.
Biotechnology Trade and Production
- Uzbekistan does not commercially produce biotech crops.
- The Uzbek Institute of Genetics and Plant Experimental Biology is doing some research on
biotechnology. However, there are not much published results from this research and there are
no known plans for bio-engineered crops to be produced commercially in Uzbekistan in the near
- Until FY 2005 Uzbekistan had been a food aid recipient. Transgenic U.S. soybeans and soybean
oil had no problems entering the country.
Currently, Uzbekistan has no laws or regulations governing the approval, production, or importation of
bio-engineered plant products, including processed foods, animal feed or seed. According to the
Ministry for Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade (MFERIT) and the State Committee
for Protection of Nature (the main governmental organizations responsible for biotech issues), a draft
decree dealing with the production and trade of genetically modified agricultural products has been
under development in the past few years, but there they have given no indication of when it will be
finalized and put in force. The government has tasked the Institute of Genetics and Plant Experimental
Biology to develop documents on the use and safety of biotech products. However, the draft decree is
still under consideration by a number of different ministries and by the special parliament committee.
Based on observations of official and independent experts, the government is not expected to approve
the decree in the near future. The draft is not expected to be as restrictive as the biotech policies in the
European Union. Instead, Uzbekistan is reportedly modeling its law on the existing biotechnology laws
of CIS and Baltic countries.
As for import requirements for animal products like meat and dairy, Uzbekistan?s Veterinary authorities
adopted unified CIS Veterinary/Sanitary certificates which prohibit importation of GMO products. This
includes meat products produced from animals that consumer biotech feed. However, in practice
Uzbekistan has no certifying centers for analyzing GMO products during importation.
Although Uzbekistan participates in the Convention on Biological Diversity, it is still not a signatory to
the Cartagena Protocol.
Uzbekistan has no uniform system of food labeling, including biotechnology labeling. However, in
accordance with Uzbek legislation on protection of consumer?s rights, all products sold in the country
must contain the following information in the Uzbek language:
- Name of the product;
- Manufacturer?s name and contact information;
- Ingredients and ?best before? date (if applicable);
- User?s manual (if needed); and cautions (if any).
In 1999-2000 USDA?s Cochran Fellowship Program organized two training courses related to
biotechnology for the experts from the relevant Uzbek ministries. In addition, the United Nation?s
Office for Environmental Protection issued grants to some Central Asian republics for biotechnology-
related projects. Reportedly, among Central Asian countries only Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan did not
get these grants, because their governments failed to apply.
Uzbekistan has no testing facilities for bio-engineered products. According to the Institute of Genetics,
which is working on the draft legislation, a request to fund purchases of testing equipment has been
submitted to the government.
Uzbekistan is one of the world?s leading cotton producers, and would likely benefit greatly from the
adoption of Bt cotton technology. Pests, including the bollworm, reduce yield and quality, and pesticide
spraying has caused severe environmental damage. It is impossible to quantify the potential benefits, but
there is every reason to believe they could be substantial. As the cotton sector remains in state hands, a
high-level policy decision could have immediate widespread effects. Unfortunately, however, a lack of
transparency makes it difficult to identify an appropriate channel through which to inform the
government of the potential benefits.
There is very little information on biotechnology published in Uzbek newspapers. Over the past ten
years, only a handful of articles were published in the popular press. In general, the media does not
cover this issue. As a result, public awareness is low and attitudes are unknown.
Still some international organizations are trying to do some educational work in this sphere. For
example, in June of 2008 FAO and the local ICARDA office organized a training seminar in Tashkent
for experts and interested representatives of various state organizations in Central Asia. The seminar
covered the issues of risk management and risk assessment for biotech crops.