In statement delivered at the 4th Central Asian Conference of the Valdai International Discussion Club via videoconferencing, Russian deputy Foreign minister Mikhail Galuzin noted on May 14 that Russia is a reliable and key trading and economic partner for the Central Asian region, which is confirmed by the consistent growth of trade turnover.

According to him, a total volume of trade turnover last year exceeded 44 billion U.S. dollars, and Russia accounted for one-third of Central Asian foreign trade turnover.  

Galuzin stated that the share of mutual settlements of Russia with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in national currencies reached 80 percent   

The Russian official further noted that the share of mutual settlements between Russia and Uzbekistan in national currencies reached 55 percent and between Russia and Turkmenistan – 24 percent. 

According to him, Russia’s capital, Moscow, currently provides employment to more than 600,000 citizens of Central Asia’s nations. 

“The absence of visa barriers, with the exception of Turkmenistan, the presence of a special regulatory framework and the prevalence of the Russian language in the region make the Russian labor market almost no alternative for citizens of Central Asian countries going abroad for work," the Russian diplomat added.

Galuzin further noted that the Central Asian region has very positive prospects for economic growth.

Recall, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have expanded the practice of mutual settlements in national currencies.  

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has also been developing a roadmap to switch to mutual settlements in nationals currencies.

On February 21, 2023, Kazakhstan chaired a videoconference meeting of the Expert Group on implementing the roadmap to gradually increase the share of national currencies in mutual settlements between the SCO member states. The meeting was attended by representatives of finance and economic ministries and national (central) banks of the concerned member states, as well as officials from the SCO Secretariat.

The roadmap for gradually increasing the share of national currencies in mutual settlements was approved by the SCO Heads of State Council in September 2022 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.  The document is aimed at creating conditions for the system’s functioning and boosting transactions in national currencies between SCO member states.