Business news in brief

Most foreign investments goes to the extraction sector, Director General of the Centre for the Development of Trade Policy of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning Ruslan Sultanov said at a May 19 Central Communications Service (CCS) media briefing. “The main factors in favour of integration within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Space (EES) are several things. The main factor is the fact that the extractive sector is still prevalent in the economy of Kazakhstan,” he said. According to Sultanov, the majority of investment attracted since 1993 has been concentrated in the extractive sector. “In this regard, accelerated industrialisation, which is impossible to accomplish without the expansion of the sales market, was chosen as the best strategy for developing the country. Thus, the decision on accelerating economic integration was made … President Nursultan Nazarbayev defined it as the main activity of the country within the EES,” Sultanov said. In May, the heads of the three EES countries – Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus – will meet in Astana to sign one of the most important documents for establishing the Eurasian Economic Union. It is planned that the union will begin functioning from January 1, 2015.

Askar Mamin, president of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, Kazakhstan’s national railway company, announced that 1,200 kilometres of new railways would be commissioned in the country through 2014 on May 21 at the seventh Astana Economic Forum. During the panel session “Eurasian transport system in the condition of global competition,” Mamin said, “At the present time, our company is building 1,200 kilometres of new railways in Kazakhstan. By the end of the year, they will be put into operation. One thousand kilometres of this route is between the Zhezkazgan-Beyneu route.” According to Mamin, cargo carriage from the port of Aktau to China will become more comfortable as a result. “Last year, the capacity of transit traffic with China through our territory increased by 20 percent. This will allow us to double the transit through the territory of Kazakhstan by 2020 [and] increase revenues from transit by three times. This will provide an opportunity to create more than 20 million new jobs,” Mamin added.

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2014 report, Kazakhstan was ranked 50th of 189 countries, improving its position by three places compared to the previous year, representative of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning Aliya Alimbetova reported at a May 19 Central Communications Service (CCS) media briefing. Moreover, Kazakhstan was ranked ahead of most other CIS countries: Belarus came in at 63rd place, Kyrgyzstan in 68th place and Russia in 92nd place. “By the end of 2013, the total volume of foreign direct investments attracted to the economy of Kazakhstan reached about $180 billion. Countries including the Netherlands, the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, China, Canada, Switzerland, Japan and others are the ones with the highest investment activity,” Alimbetova said. Kazakhstan’s trade turnover reached about $132 billion in 2013.

Petrochemicals and gas-derived chemical exports from Kazakhstan will reach $2.5 billion by 2019, after the second five-year plan of industrial-innovative development, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev said at a panel session at the seventh Astana Economic Forum. “Oil and gas chemistry is a practically new industry. In 2019, we will have polypropylene, domestic polyethylene [and] plastic products. Exports will amount to more than $2.5 billion, and take a 5 percent share in the manufacturing industry of Kazakhstan,” he said. In addition, according to the minister, the second five-year plan includes the complete modernisation of all three refineries in Kazakhstan in 2016-2017, increasing refined oil product output to at least 19 million tonnes per year, and fully supplying the domestic market with domestically produced Euro-4 and Euro-5 fuel, jet fuel and other fuels.

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