Business News in Brief

A three-day exhibition on modern building technology in Astana was held at the Korme complex in Astana from March 27 to March 29. It displayed construction techniques, finishing materials, ventilation, heating and sewerage systems, gas, water and energy conservation, construction machinery and equipment, construction and road materials from companies in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia, China and Germany. The event was organized by the city government of Astana and the Atakent-Expo Exhibition Company with the support of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies.“Our goal is to present new energy conservation and efficient technologies,” Salauat Dembay, director of the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Construction at the Ministry of Regional Development, said.

On March 27-28, Askar Mamin, chairman of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (Kazakhstan State Railways) visited China, where he met with Transport Minister Yang Chuantang, Lianyungang Mayor Yang Xingshi, the managers of Lianyungang port and executives from Chinese transportation and logistics companies. They discussed Kazakh participation in the expansion project Lianyungang Port to transport Kazakhstan’s exports to Southeast Asia, and the transportation of Chinese exports through Kazakhstan to Central and South Asia, Russia, Europe and the Caucasus. Mamin and Yang discussed increased cooperation between their national railway systems and the opening of the new Altynkol – Khorgos rail border crossing. Cross border rail trade expanded to 16.5 million tons in 2012, a 9 percent increase on 2011. The two countries plan to expand the volume of cross border rail trade by 18 percent to 19.5 million tons per year.

On March 14, Kazindustriya Director General Mohammad Daud addressed a delegation of businessmen from Afghanistan planning to invest in Kazakhstan. “Kazakhstan has created favourable investment climate,” Daud said. “We will supply the necessary information to Afghan businessmen. We are ready to help with any visa issues,” Daud said, adding that Kazakhstan held a leading position in the region and was therefore an important strategic partner for Afghanistan. “As now there is practically no industry and production in Afghanistan, we are interested in all sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy including food, flour, construction materials and oil products. Afghanistan imports 70 percent of its wheat from Kazakhstan,” he said. “The main obstacle to the development of the Afghan business sector is a transit corridor. We have a very weak infrastructure. It cannot carry the necessary volumes of freight. Therefore, Afghanistan needs to enter the Commonwealth of Independent States railway cooperation organisation. Afghanistan’s business leaders also lack the necessary information about Kazakhstan. These meetings need to be held on a regular basis. They make our cooperation stronger. And they give Afghan businessmen the opportunity to study the business structure in Kazakhstan.”

On March 14, a seminar organized by the Rietumu Bank was held in Almaty to discuss increased business cooperation between Kazakhstan and Latvia. Rietumu is the largest private Latvian bank. National Economic Chamber and Atameken Union Vice Chairman Eldos Ramazan, Senator Gani Kassymov and Latvian Ambassador Yuris Maklakovs participated. The Latvian side said they wanted to create business partnerships and could act as intermediaries between the companies of Europe and Asia. “This seminar is the first effort to get Kazakhstan businessmen to invest in our country,” Ambassador Maklakovs said. “Our main international airport has direct flights to 80 locations around the world and three ports on the Baltic Sea. Kazakhstan businessmen can use them. We are interested in gaining export overland access to China and other countries in Asia.” Reitumu officials said Kazakhstan businessmen should buy real estate and acquire residence permits in their country which would give them the right to travel freely all 27 European Union countries.

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