Kazakhstan Observes Increase in Foreign Investment Over 3 Years Since Joining WTO, says Kazakh Minister of Trade and Integration

NUR-SULTAN – The Kazakh Minister of Trade and Integration Bakhyt Sultanov took part Jan. 29 in an Informal Meeting of Trade Ministers of the World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries, the ministry’s press service reported. 

Kazakh Minister of Trade and Integration Bakhyt Sultanov. Photo credit: Gov.kz.

Trade ministers and heads of representations to the WTO in Geneva from 36 countries attended an online event dedicated to the key priorities of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. The agenda also included the discussions of measures to facilitate recovery from the pandemic crisis and ways to achieve results on the organization’s current agenda. 

In his remarks, Sultanov noted that the joint efforts to reform the WTO and make progress in the negotiations are important. It is necessary to fully restore the activities of the WTO judicial body and further improve the activities of its Appellate Body.

“The recovery of the global economy and trade, as well as sustainable global economic growth in the post-crisis period, will be facilitated by new global trade rules in the areas of e-commerce, investment promotion, and domestic regulation of services,” said Sultanov. 

The pandemic affected the development of e-commerce and provided new opportunities for businesses and consumers. The work on a new e-commerce agreement is now proceeding intensively. It provides prospects for results-focused solutions. 

The Kazakh minister said that e-commerce has also been developing in the Kazakh economy. It has become the most profitable sector during the lockdown. As a result, the volume of the e-commerce market reached 435 billion tenge (US$1 billion) in the first half of 2020. 

“The new WTO plurilateral domestic regulation disciplines aim to ensure a predictable business climate by increasing the transparency of the service environment,” said Sultanov. 

Kazakhstan has contributed to the completion of negotiations and the adoption of new rules in the field of services during the upcoming WTO Conference. The country recently submitted its list of services, which will be implemented by Kazakhstan and 60 other WTO members, which account for 73 percent of world trade in services.

The new rules in the service sector will improve the investment climate and develop the service sector. Since Kazakhstan’s joining the WTO, the country observed a positive trend in attracting foreign investment in the service sector, which has increased to 30 percent over three years. Overall, the share of the service sector in Kazakhstan’s GDP is about 56 percent.  

Kazakhstan allows foreign investors to open direct branches of their banks and insurance organizations in the country along with subsidiaries since last December as a fulfillment of obligations in the financial sector, after a five-year transition period.

Kazakhstan became the 162nd WTO member in November 2015.  

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