New Kazakh-British Inter-Gov’t Commission Meets in Astana
The first session of the Kazakh-British Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IGC) took place in Astana on Nov. 5, providing a platform for learning about each other’s socioeconomic situation and discussing bilateral cooperation. The highlevel meeting was led by Asset Issekeshev, Kazakhstan’s minister
of investment and development, and U.K. Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Ian Livingstone.
“During the meeting, it was announced that the volume of trade turnover of Kazakhstan and the U.K. for the first half of 2014 exceeded $643 million. The inflow of direct investment from the
U.K. to Kazakhstan in the period from 2005 to the first quarter of 2014 amounted to about $ 10.5 billion,” said Issekeshev at a press conference.
More than 600 British companies are currently operating in Kazakhstan in the oil and gas, mining, energy, transport and banking sectors, and the U.K. representatives noted that their companies are interested in participating in Kazakhstan’s second five-year period of industrialisation.
The parties agreed to continue active cooperation between Kaznex Invest and U.K. Trade & Investment (UKTI). In particular, Kaznex Invest submitted to UKTI a list of 40 promising investment projects relating to mechanical engineering, chemistry, pharmaceuticals and the agro-industrial complex in Kazakhstan.
The parties also reached an agreement on the provision of consultancy support by U.K. companies and research institutes in the field of geology and mineral resources. With the participation of the Nazarbayev University Research and Innovation System (NURIS) and the Kazgeologiya national company, the two sides will aim at creating a world-class geological cluster in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom also praised the cooperation of Kazgeologiya and Rio Tinto for the implementation of their joint projects exploring porphyry copper ores in the Balkhash-Saryshagan area and the Korgantas area in the Karaganda region. Technological cooperation will be implemented throughout the exploration as the projects continue and Kazgeologiya employees will be trained by Rio Tinto.
The first Kazakh-British Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation meeting was held Nov. 5 in Astana Among the visitors from the U.K. was Professor Charles Hendry, trade envoy of the prime minister of the U.K., who presented a special report to the working group of companies in the energy industry. His counterpart Magzum Mirzagaliev, vice minister of energy of Kazakhstan, was also in attendance.
David Wootton, co-chairman of the Kazakh-British Trade and Industry Council (KBTIC), presented the possibilities of partnerships between the National Bank of Kazakhstan and City of
London companies. The City of London Corporation also showed an interest in helping Kazakhstan develop the Almaty Financial District as a regional centre for finance.
Also on the agenda of the first meeting of the IGC was the creation of joint ventures between small and medium enterprises in the energy sector in the framework of the Kazakhstan-British
programme for the development of partnerships.
Special attention was paid to improving existing mechanisms for cooperation in science and education, including the development of Kazakhstan’s Bolashak Presidential Scholarship, which sends top students from Kazakhstan to study at universities overseas. Prospects for further cooperation within the Newton–Al Farabi Partnership Programme, as well as expanding relations in science, education and innovation, were also discussed during talks on educational cooperation.
Promising areas of bilateral cooperation were selected in culture, tourism and healthcare. Kazakhstan also expects British businesses to be actively involved in the organisation and conduct of the international specialised exhibition, EXPO 2017, to be held in Astana.
The large delegation of British businesses was met by several familiar high officials, among them Yerzhan Kazyhanov, former foreign minister and current ambassador of Kazakhstan to the U.K.
The establishment of the IGC was proposed during a meeting between President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and Prime Minister of the U.K. David Cameron during Cameron’s first visit to Kazakhstan in 2013.