Parliament Discusses Protecting Domestic Companies During Eurasian Economic Integration

ASTANA – Measures to protect domestic manufacturers and exporters during the process of Eurasian economic integration and ensure that all benefits from accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are received were among the recommendations resulting from a Nov. 15 parliamentary hearing.

ParliamentEurasian economic integration has been one of Kazakhstan’s priorities over the past few years. Chairman of the Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev opened the hearing by saying that parliament was working to promote integration within the Customs Union with Russia and Belarus and the Common Economic Space. Minister of Economic Integration Zhanar Aitzhanova reported on the positive impact of the Customs Union, saying that since its establishment in 2009, foreign direct investment in Kazakhstan’s manufacturing sector had increased by 88.9 percent, from US$1.8 billion to US$3.4 billion in 2012. Kazakhstan’s exports of goods to Russia also increased from US$3.5 billion to US$6.7 billion.

Economic competitiveness, however, has become a more pressing concern in the context of regional and global integration, and laws regarding the promotion and protection of domestic producers continue to be drafted. These include the law on state support for industrial innovation activity of 2012, which was intended to stimulate priority sectors of the economy and boost their competitiveness.

Secretary of the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Sarsenbai Yensegenov discussed this law and other legislative activities during the hearing aimed at supporting business and reported that an entrepreneurial code and a new law on permissions and notifications would be drafted to further protect businesses from bureaucratic incursions.

Exports are also a matter of concern, and the country’s new National Export Strategy was developed this year to protect domestic exporters and promote their products. First Vice Minister of Industry and New Technologies Albert Rau discussed the enhancement of this strategy, including the creation of a network of sales offices and other entities focused on promoting the country’s exports. These are to be developed with the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the newly created National Chamber of Entrepreneurs.

Akim (Governor) of the West Kazakhstan region Nurlan Nogayev, First Vice Minister of Regional Development Kairbek Uskenbayev, Vice Minister of Agriculture Muslim Umiryaev, Deputy Chairman of the Agency for Protection of Competition Timur Baimukhanov and Deputy Chairman of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Rahim Oshakbayev also spoke at the parliamentary hearing. The hearing was attended by members of parliament, heads of government agencies, subject matter experts and representatives from the regions and the business community.

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