Kazakhstan: Foreign Ministry considers creation of investment ecosystem

ASTANA (TCA) — A two-day meeting on investment and export promotion was recently held at Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On the first day, heads of a number of Kazakhstan’s international diplomatic missions, as well as representatives of the Presidential Administration, the Office of the Prime Minister, central and local executive bodies, the quasi-public sector and national companies of Kazakhstan attended the meeting, the Foreign Ministry reported.

The meeting involved discussions on how to implement Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s instructions for the Foreign Ministry to support investment and promote Kazakh exports. This included discussing mechanisms of institutional interaction and the practical aspects of investment generation, and addressing the specific and regional challenges that Kazakhstan faces in promoting exports.

As instructed by the President, a comprehensive ecosystem to provide a supportive climate for investments is being created to develop and deepen interactions between state agencies, national companies, akimats (state administrations) and foreign missions. Kazakhstan is developing regional investor relations offices, where investors will receive practical assistance in the implementation of their projects.

Foreign Minister Beibut Atamkulov stressed that the ambassadors of Kazakhstan would be “armed” with all relevant information, including packages of investment proposals and projects, to effectively work with potential investors. The information will include financial indicators, terms for entering the market, land allocation, infrastructure provision, customs and tax preferences, tariffs, and labour resources. The Foreign Minister said that the embassies would have to significantly enhance their efforts to attract investment and new advanced technology into Kazakhstan’s economy.

President Nazarbayev has set the task of large-scale promotion of products manufactured in Kazakhstan to foreign markets. The Foreign Minister noted that export promotion is one of the main priorities of the Government. Ambassadors were instructed to submit specific proposals on the expansion of Kazakhstan’s exports to their countries and regions, taking into account the specific investment and business climate of their area of residence.

The second day of the event was devoted to studying the practical aspects of attracting investment and promoting exports. Taking into account economic crises, trade wars and the growth of protectionism, it is important for Kazakh diplomats to be proficient in all aspects and trends of business and investment. There will be training and classes for Kazakh government employees on attracting investment and enhancing exports, including those based in Kazakhstan’s diplomatic missions and those working for the central office on investment opportunities and trade potential of Kazakhstan.

In the first nine months of 2018, the gross inflow of foreign direct investment in Kazakhstan increased by 8.4% and exceeded $17.3 billion. The main investors were the Netherlands (27.4%), the US (22.8%), Switzerland (13%), Russia (6.8%), China (6.7%), Belgium (5.4%), France (4.1%) and the UK (2.6%).

Foreign trade turnover of Kazakhstan in the first 11 months of 2018 amounted to $84.3 billion and increased by 20.5% compared to the same period of 2017. Particularly, exports amounted to $54.6 billion (increase of 26.4%), of which non-resource export amounted to $14.5 billion (increase of 3%). The main items of Kazakhstan’s export are agricultural products, energy products, textiles, food, construction materials, machinery, and equipment. The main trading partners of Kazakhstan are Russia, Italy, China, the Netherlands, the US, France, Switzerland, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Germany and Spain. The European Union countries account for over half of Kazakh exports, China and the EEU countries account for 10%, and the other Central Asian countries account for 5%.

Sergey Kwan