Uzbekistan plans Russia-powered traceability drive

Uzbekistan’s government will introduce mandatory digital labelling for a range of food, pharmaceutical and other goods based on Russia’s Chestny ZNAK system.

According to a resolution issued in 2019 that was adopted last month, from January 1, 2021, mandatory digital marking will be introduced for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages – with the exception of beer, which will have to carry the labels from April 1.

Starting from March 1, imports of these products without the digital labelling into Uzbekistan will be illegal, according to the Uzbek government, which says the measures are intended to curb the production, sale and import into the country of illicit goods.

A pilot project is also due to start within six months to explore extending the digital labelling drive to include certain medicinal products, bottled water, soft drinks, and household appliances. The start dates for mandatory marking of these types of goods will be set by the government based on the results of the pilot.

Manufacturers and importers will be responsible for fixing the labels to products, while retailers and wholesalers will be required to enter data into the national database and product tracking information system – dubbed Asl belgisi - which was due to come online December 1.

In time, the intention is to introduce mobile apps that will be used to monitor the status of labelled goods in real time as they move through the supply chain.

Russia started rolling out the Chestny ZNAK system last year for medicines, with the intention of expanding it to a broad range of goods by 2024. The aim is to protect consumers by keeping fake and substandard products out of the market.

The labels are based on serialised 2D barcodes incorporating crypto codes for added security, as well as secure reporting ad records management via a centralised database. After the initial rollout in medicines, footwear, cigarettes, tires and perfume are following suit.

Earlier this year, Belarus also adopted the Chestny ZNAK system for marking of tires and other light industrial goods.

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