In June 2022, some of the most notable legal developments in Uzbekistan were the adoption of a new Law on Advertisement, reforms related to the operation of the natural gas market, the establishment of a procedure for the support of investment projects with external infrastructure, softening of particular tax requirements, and measures to improve the efficiency of special economic zones. There were also important changes in the land legislation, including the adoption of the Law on the Procedures for the Withdrawal of Land for Public Needs with Compensation.
A new edition of the Law on Advertisement has been adopted. It will enter into force on 9 September 2022. The new edition of the Law provides definitions of such concepts as “unethical advertising” and “promotional campaigns” as well as contains a number of other novelties. These, among others, include the following:
(a) it has been clarified that the Law does not apply to, among others, (i) informational and analytical materials (reviews of domestic and foreign markets, results of scientific research) that do not aim at promoting goods (services); (ii) information about a product, its manufacturer, importer or exporter placed on the product or its packaging; (iii) information on goods (services) posted on websites or social networks pages of manufacturers (service providers), where the provision of such information is intended to inform visitors about the assortment, rules of use, and other characteristics of sold goods (rendered services);
(b) it has been clarified that advertisement may fully or partially be subject to copyright and related rights;
(c) advertisement must generally be distributed in the Uzbek language, but there may be accompanying translation to other languages (some limitations apply);
(d) individuals and entities engaged in advertising may now form specialized associations;
(e) the following prohibitions have been introduced:
(f) a term for which individuals and entities engaged in advertising must retain relevant materials has been increased from one year to three years;
(g) fines for relevant violations have been set. They vary from 30 to 100 times the baseline calculation value (approx. USD 800-2700). Where a legal entity is an infringer, fines are applied by the Consumers Protection Agency under the Antimonopoly Committee.
A Law on the Procedures for the Withdrawal of Land for Public Needs with Compensation has been adopted. It enters into force on 1 October 2022. Rules and procedures for withdrawing lands for public needs and payment of relevant compensations are set forth in details. The following purposes are identified as public needs:
The Law does not apply to lands that belong to individuals and legal entities based on the right of full ownership and lands that belong to state bodies and establishments, state-owned enterprises, and self-government bodies of citizens based on the right of permanent use.
The President has signed a Law introducing changes into the land legislation. The following is, among others, provided by the Law:
The President has issued a Resolution on measures for reforming the gas market. The Resolution has established state-owned JSC “UzGasTrade”, to which functions related to the centralized sale and purchase of gas have been transferred from JSC “Uztransgaz”, which remains to be a single operator of the main gas transportation system. Specifically, starting from 1 August 2022, JSC “UzGasTrade”’s functions will include the following:
Following a number of Presidential Decrees, including the Presidential Decree No. PP-5233 of 25 August 2021, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved a Regulation on the provision of state support for investment projects in the form of the construction of external engineering and communication networks (including water supply, sewage, electricity, gas, and particular telecommunications networks and automobile roads).
Based on the Regulation, investment projects meeting all the following criteria generally qualify for the support: (i) projects that have been included in state investment programs; (ii) whose amount exceeds UZS 200 bln (approx. USD 18.2 mln) or, for the Republic of Karakalpakstan and the Khorezm region, UZS 50 bln (approx. USD 4.5 mln); (iii) where investor’s own investments into a relevant project are at least 25% of the project amount; (iv) where a relevant feasibility study confirms that the making of relevant expenses by the investor itself is unfeasible. Decisions on the provision of the support are made by a specialized State Commission, being currently headed by the Minister of Finance, based on a relevant assessment of the Center for the Comprehensive Expertise of Projects and Import Contracts under the Ministry of Economy and a regional working group headed by representatives of a regional municipality.
The President has issued a Decree softening particular tax requirements for business entities. The following, among others, applies starting from 1 July 2022:
The President has signed a Decree on measures for improving the efficiency of special economic zones, small industrial zones, industrial zones for young entrepreneurs, and special commercial zones. The following is, among others, envisaged by the Decree:
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Kosta Legal Law Firm