ASTANA – Astana hosted a Kazakh-Czech business forum on April 24, which saw the signing of bilateral agreements worth 230 million euros ($254 million). The one-day forum sought to expand economic ties between the two countries and build a network between Kazakh and Czech entrepreneurs.
More than 150 delegates attended the event, including heads of government bodies, national and quasi-state companies, representatives of industry and regional business associations, and heads of leading Czech companies such as Škoda Transportation, TELMO, a weak-current engineering company, Egap, a credit insurance corporation, and STV Group, the largest ammunition producer in the Czech Republic, among others.
Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov opened the forum, emphasizing the high growth rates of bilateral trade. According to him, the upward trend in trade will continue.
“Czech Republic is one of our key partners in the European Union. Mutual trade between our countries is experiencing robust growth. Last year, trade turnover grew by 67 percent. This growth is continuing this year as well. In January and February, the volume of mutual trade more than doubled. I believe that the trade turnover between our countries will only increase in the future. At the same time, there are all the necessary conditions for launching more investment products. Over the last 15 years, Czech companies have invested nearly $270 million in our economy. Almost one fifth of them were invested in the last two years,” said Smailov.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala emphasized that Kazakhstan is the main business partner of the Czech Republic in Central Asia.
“Kazakhstan is a major importer of oil to Czech Republic. But we should expand our relations to many various areas,” added Fiala.
Fiala also highlighted the importance of building a sustainable supply chain, given the current geopolitical situation. “Good partnerships and diversification of the supply chain are more critical than before,” said the Czech Prime Minister.
The Czech delegation also expressed interest in tapping into Kazakhstan’s potential as the hub between Asia and Europe.
Kazakhstan Engineering national company chairman Temirzhan Abdrakhamov underlined several large projects to be implemented with Škoda Transportation.
“We look forward to starting business with Škoda. We are already negotiating with the mayor of Almaty city to start assembling trolley buses on our machinery plants in the city center. (…) We believe the project will create a multiplier effect on the economy of the city and give opportunities to small entities to grow,” said Abdrakhamov.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala met with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on the same day. Tokayev said Fiala’s first official visit to the country would contribute to strengthening bilateral relations.
“I welcome that you have brought a large business delegation here. A business forum will be very useful in promoting our business contacts and cooperation,” said Tokayev.
Tokayev and Fiala discussed expanding trade, economic and investment cooperation, including in transport and logistics. Tokayev said he is ready to provide all possible support to Czech investors.
“We welcome investments from the Czech Republic in various sectors, including energy and mechanical engineering, transport, agriculture, finance, the medical industry and pharmaceuticals. We also hope direct air travel between the capitals of our countries will be launched,” he said.