Kazakhstan PM Discusses Economic Cooperation, EXPO 2017 During France Visit

Kazakhstan Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov met with International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) Secretary General Vicente Lossertales in Paris on Sept. 19.

Akhmetov also metwith French Prime MinisterJean-Marc AyraultandOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary General Angel Gurria.

The meetings included discussions of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the OECD, as well as Astana’s preparations for EXPO 2017.

“The Kazakh side is taking all measures for quality preparation for the international event,” the prime minister said, stressing strategic collaboration with the BIE.

Akhmetovalso updatedthe BIE Secretary General on the progress of the competition for the architectural sketch of the exhibition and the status of the final stages of the registration dossier for EXPO2017, which will be presented to the International Exhibitions Bureau in December.

“More than50 experts from around the world participated in the international contest. Its follow-up will be determined by the best sketch – an idea that will be the basis for the exhibition center,” Akhmetovsaid.

Lossertales also commented on the talks he had with President Nursultan Nazarbayev earlier this year. “I had a meeting with the President of Kazakhstan in Astana. Nursultan Nazarbayev said that the preparations for the exhibition would be under his personal control,” Loscertales said.

“I have been working in this direction for over 20 years. I hold exhibitions, but I have never seen in the history of this organization that any country worked so quickly, strategically and effectively,” the secretary general added, wishing Kazakhstan continued success in its efforts.

The International Exhibitions Bureau was established by a diplomatic international Convention signed in 1928 in Paris. The world’s first universal exhibition was held in London in 1851. Currently, the BIE includes 163 countries. Kazakhstan became a member of the BIE in 1997. On Nov. 22, 2012 as a result of a secret ballot at the 152th BIE General Assembly, Astana gained 103 votes against 44 votes for the Belgian city of Liege, and was declared the venue for EXPO 2017.

During Akhmetov’s meeting with Prime Minister Ayrault, the two sides discussed a wide range of issues concerning trade and economic cooperation, including France’s participation in the modernization of the Kazakhstan economy.

Akhmetov also met with French business leaders and discussed Kazakhstan’s efforts toward accession to the OECD with OECD Secretary-General Gurria at the organization’s headquarters in Paris. Accession to the OECD is part of Kazakhstan’s larger goal to be listed among the world’s 30 most competitive countries. Accession to the OECD would expose Kazakhstan to advanced international best practices, improve the country’s administrative system and improve its investment attractiveness.

According to Akhmetov, Kazakhstan, already an observer in two committees in the OECD, also submitted a request to be accepted as observer into seven more committees of the organization. The OECD, grouping more than 30 most developed countries, has around 30 committees overall.

The prime minister also said a special council has been set up under the Kazakh government to coordinate cooperation with the OECD, which includes three working groups.

In turn, Gurria suggested Kazakhstan also work with the OECD development centre.

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