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Uzbekistan, Economy

cotton production, world prices, industrial processing, textile mills, republics

In the mid-20th century the Soviet rulers of Uzbekistan intentionally developed the region as a supplier of raw materials for industrial processing elsewhere in the USSR and for export. It was during this time that Soviet planners implemented the disastrous shift to cotton production. That legacy is felt today. Uzbekistan’s economy is dependent upon cotton exports and therefore rises and falls as world prices fluctuate. Industries such as textile mills that could process the country’s raw materials are still underdeveloped. Uzbekistan must import food, despite potentially very fertile farmland.

In 2000 Uzbekistan’s total gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the value of goods and services produced in the country, was $7.7 billion. While declining following independence, the fall in GDP was less than that in other former republics of the Soviet Union, largely because the country was focused upon raw material rather than industrial production.

Uzbekistan’s government was slow to implement a shift to a market-style economy. In the early 1990s the government maintained the Soviet-era practice of subsidizing prices for industrial and consumer goods; this practice drained the government’s funds as inflation soared. Although the government has accelerated the pace of privatization, it remains heavily involved in the economy. Many enterprises remain under the strong influence of national or local government, so that their way of operation has changed little since independence.

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Article key phrases:

cotton production, world prices, industrial processing, textile mills, republics, USSR, GDP, Soviet Union, inflation, industrial production, independence, local government, legacy, consumer goods, shift, raw material, century, fall, value of goods, food, region, Industries, country, enterprises, time, services


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