Scrutiny of international agreements: treaties considered on 11 February 2020 Contents

Chapter 1: Agreement reported for information

Partnership and Cooperation Agreement establishing a Partnership between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the one part, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, of the other part (CP 203, 2019)1

1.The UK-Uzbekistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) was laid on 20 December 2019, and the scrutiny period is scheduled to end on 11 February 2020. It was considered by the EU External Affairs Committee at its meeting on 6 February.

2.The precursor agreement to the UK-Uzbekistan Agreement is the EU-Uzbekistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement,2 which entered into force in 1999. The UK Agreement seeks to replicate the terms of the EU Agreement. Alterations reflect the new bilateral context, such as removing references to the EU and EU institutions. Further changes have been made in response to developments in Uzbekistan, for example, taking out the phrase “newly independent States”—which is a reference to former Soviet republics gaining their independence during the 1990s.

3.The Agreement commits the Parties to cooperation through regular political dialogue in a broad number of areas, including trade and investment, financial services, procurement, environment and human health matters, international peace and security, the rule of law, and human rights.

4.Title Three of the Agreement covers trade in goods and ensures that trade between the UK and Uzbekistan can continue on ‘most-favoured-nation’ terms. This had to be explicitly set out as Uzbekistan is not a member of the WTO and, consequently, not subject to the ‘most-favoured-nation’ principle. The volume of trade between the UK and Uzbekistan is very small: total imports in 2016 were under £10 million; while exports were under £70 million.3 The Agreement also provides for equal treatment of nationals in employment terms; the equal treatment of companies; and outlines measures to enable the supply of services across borders. Title Four replicates the terms of the UK-Uzbekistan Bilateral Investment Treaty, which provided further guarantees for companies operating in either territory.

5.The UK Agreement, like the precursor EU Agreement, provides for Uzbekistan to receive technical assistance on matters relating to democracy, human rights, the rule of law and the prevention of illegal activities. In addition, under Title Ten, Uzbekistan may receive financial assistance (bilateral, multilateral or through regional organisations) to meet the objectives of the Agreement.

6.The Agreement establishes a Partnership and Cooperation Dialogue, charged with the supervision of all aspects of the Agreement. Its membership and how it would operate in practice, however, is yet to be determined.

7.Article 83 of the precursor EU Agreement establishes a bilateral channel for parliamentary dialogue through the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee. This has not been read across to the UK Agreement. Officials have previously explained that this approach reflects the Government’s general policy of not seeking to bind the UK Parliament without consultation. We have questioned this in relation to other agreements, such as the Association Agreement with Chile (CP 35, 2019).4

8.We report the UK-Uzbekistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement to the House for information.


1 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement establishing a Partnership between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the one part, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, of the other part, CP 203, 2019: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/854351/CS_Uzbeksitan_1.2019_UK_Uzbekistan_Partnership_and_Cooperation_Agreement.pdf [accessed 3 February 2020]

2 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement establishing a partnership between the European Communities and their member states, of the one part, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, of the other part, OJ L229/3, (31 August 1999)

3 Office for National Statistics, ‘Who Does the UK Trade With?’ (3 January 2018): https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/internationaltrade/articles/whodoestheuktradewith/2017-02-21 [accessed 6 February 2020]

4 European Union Committee, Scrutiny of International Agreements: treaties considered on 26 February 2019 (31st Report, Session 2017–19, HL Paper 300) para 45




© Parliamentary copyright 2020