Kazakhstan seeks more economic cooperation with Norway

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NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Kazakhstan is keen to work closely with Norway and the Norwegian business, Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, said at the Business Seminar “Kazakhstan: New Economic Opportunities for cooperation with Norway,” held in Oslo on June 18, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry reported.

Vassilenko said that the annual trade turnover between the two countries is just over $60 million, which signifies that there’s a huge unutilized potential for business-to-business interaction.

He singled out major areas for economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and Norway.

The first is transports and logistics. “In order to boost trade we need to improve connectivity. We have already set up very efficient railroad communication connecting Eastern China with Western Europe. Container shipments going through Kazakhstan reach their destination in just two weeks, which is much faster than the maritime route and much cheaper than air cargo transportation. With Finland already connected, we believe that the whole of Scandinavia, especially Norwegian seaports, can benefit from this route,” Vassilenko said.

“We would like to encourage all Norwegian transport and logistics companies, and those who trade with Asian and Central Asian countries, to participate in this initiative. We are ready to put you in touch with the relevant partners in Kazakhstan and along the whole route.”

Agriculture is another area with huge potential for cooperation.

Today, Kazakhstan is among the top ten countries exporting grain and flour, Vassilenko said. “We know that Norwegian companies are interested in our grains. By the end of last year, over 43,000 tonnes of grain were exported from Kazakhstan to Norway. According to our estimates, this figure can be significantly increased.”

Kazakh businesses are also interested in exporting natural juices, dried fruits and many other products, Vassilenko said, adding that “in this context, there are great opportunities for organizing joint processing industries with Norwegian partners”.

It looks promising to establish joint projects with the Norwegian partners in the production of agricultural products for export, primarily to China, the Kazakh deputy foreign minister said.

Sergey Kwan

TCA