Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov of the Republic of Kazakhstan met with Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas in Astana to explore further steps aimed at enhancing trade and economic relations between Kazakhstan and the European Union, TuraNews.kz reports.
Discussions during the meeting encompassed various aspects, including increasing trade turnover, attracting investments, reinforcing collaboration in the transport and logistics sector, easing visa regulations, fostering industrial cooperation, and more.
Prime Minister Smailov emphasized the special importance Kazakhstan places on bolstering mutually beneficial ties with the European Union. Key agreements such as the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and the new EU Strategy for Central Asia play a crucial role in facilitating this collaboration.
“The EU is one of the largest trade and investment partners of the Republic of Kazakhstan, constituting about 30% of foreign trade and approximately 40% of attracted investments,” noted Prime Minister Smailov. Trade turnover in the past 11 months witnessed a nearly 5% increase, reaching around $38 billion. In 2022, EU investment in Kazakhstan amounted to $12.5 billion, marking the highest level in the past decade.
The Prime Minister highlighted the sustainability and attractiveness of Kazakhstan’s economy for European partners, with nearly 6,000 joint ventures operating in the country. He encouraged the European investment community to expand participation in joint projects.
A crucial aspect of cooperation discussed was the transit and transport sector, where Kazakhstan plays a pivotal role in the transportation of goods from China to Europe. Prime Minister Smailov outlined ongoing projects to modernize railway and port infrastructure, enhance rolling stock and the merchant fleet, and synchronize information systems for real-time cargo tracking.
Vice-President Schinas acknowledged Kazakhstan as an important partner for the European Union, praising the modernization processes and reforms initiated by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. He emphasized the significance of upcoming initiatives like the Investor Forum on sustainable development, which aims to strengthen transport links between Europe and Central Asia under the Global Gateway initiative. Kazakhstan’s participation in the forum was underscored as a crucial element in these endeavors.