“The Kazakh-Austrian Business Council should consist of two divisions, an expert analytical centre and an investments promotion department,” Kazakhstan Co-Chair Meiram Pshembayev said at a March 16 meeting of the council’s board. “We believe that there should be two divisions, an expert analytical centre and an investments promotion department. Attention needs to be paid to entrepreneurs interested in finding local and foreign partners,” he said. The co-chair also noted that any Kazakh or Austrian business or organisation may join the council. Pshembayev noted the importance of establishing a visa-free regime between the two countries.
“The volume of gas transported through the Kazakhstan-China pipeline will be increased to 55 billion tenge (US$295.67 million) worth,” Kazakh Vice Minister of Energy Magzum Mirzagaliyev said at a March 19 media briefing at the Central Communication Services (CCS). “Last year, 30 billion cubic metres of gas was transported through the Kazakhstan-China pipeline. But several years ago, there was no pipeline at all. Construction of the third branch of the Kazakhstan-China pipeline has finished, which allows for 55 billion cubic metres of gas to be transported,” Mirzagaliyev said. He also reminded that logistics, including gas transportation projects, are given great attention under the Nurly Zhol programme, Kazakhstan’s new economic policy.
On March 20, Vice President of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) Express Sergei Anashkin made a statement that KTZ is currently considering building or leasing external logistics terminals. According to Anashkin, the company is considering the possibility of renting sea port terminals in Yantien and dry ports in Xi’an and Zhengzhou. Cargo capacity would be up to 2 million tonnes per year. In addition, Anashkin noted that the Kazakhstan-China terminal in the port of Lianyungang and the construction or lease of logistics terminals are in the planning stages. Anashkin added that now they are evaluating the location of the terminal and the possible inclusion of Baltic ports. They carry a cargo handling capacity of up to 1.7 million tonnes per year.
On March 17, the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan announced that the Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Dmitry Mezentsev will head the SCO observer mission during the early presidential elections in Kazakhstan. According to the Foreign Ministry, a meeting of the SCO National Coordinators was held in Beijing, at which representatives planned SCO observer activities. The SCO includes Kazakhstan, Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In addition, the SCO granted observer status to Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The early presidential elections are scheduled for April 26.
“The Forgotten of Karaganda” (“Los Olvidados de Karagandá”) received gold in the Documentary & Short International Movie Competition in Jakarta, Indonesia in early March. The film, which won Best Documentary in 2014 at the California Documentary Film Competition, is a 50-minute documentary about the fate of Spanish members of the Republican and Blue Division movements, who opposed each other during the Spanish Civil War but during World War II ended up in the same prison camp in Kazakhstan. The film shows the ideological enemies becoming allies and forgetting their differences for the sake of personal and collective survival. The film uses eyewitness accounts and describes the circumstances that led to the incarceration of the Spanish prisoners in KarLag (part of the infamous Gulag system of Stalin’s so-called labour correction camps), whose stories remained unknown to most Spaniards until now.