ASTANA – Kazakh-Italian business forum titled Kazakhstan – the Country of Great Opportunities took place on April 26 in Milan, focusing on trade and investment relations between the two countries, the Kazakh Embassy in Italy reported.
Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Italy Yerbolat Sembayev said Italy is the leading trading partner of Kazakhstan in Europe and third in the world, noting that cooperation between the countries is built based on the Treaty on Strategic Partnership.
Sembayev spoke about the investment projects put into action, including the assembly of Deutz-Fahr agricultural machinery, a brand that Agromash Holding KZ plans to launch with the Italian transnational holding SDF Group.
“A joint venture PetrolValves Kazakhstan created by Italian company PetrolValves, engaged in the production and maintenance of valves, and Kazakh company Merlion Development Group, has launched a plant for the production of valves this year,” he added.
According to Kazakh Invest Chairman Meirzhan Yussupov, Italy remains Kazakhstan’s third largest trading partner after Russia and China, with a share of more than 11.1 percent in the total foreign trade volume.
“Today, more than 260 enterprises with the participation of Italian capital are successfully operating in the country, which indicates the high confidence of Italian business in Kazakhstan,” he said.
Kazakhstan is Italy’s significant trade and economic partner, noted Ciro Maschio, President of the Committee of Justice of the Italian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies. Both parties have all the opportunities to expand bilateral cooperation, he noted.
During the forum, Kazpost and the Italian company NEOS signed a memorandum on cooperation in the development of e-commerce.
On the forum’s sidelines, First Deputy Chairman of Baiterek National Managing Holding Nurbolat Aidapkelov said Kazakhstan’s Agrarian Credit Corporation provided loans worth 725 million euros ($801.5 million), while KazAgroFinance leased 6,806 units of equipment worth 353 million euros ($390.2 million).
“More than half of the transferred equipment was produced in Kazakhstan. Over 88,000 agricultural producers are consumers of the holding’s subsidiaries. The average loan is 54,000 euros ($59,698),” he noted.
Over the years of cooperation between Baiterek holding and Italian companies since 2008, 29 million euros ($32 million) has been used to purchase apple seedlings, agricultural machinery, and equipment imported from Italy.
Aidapkelov outlined for Italian investors the areas of the agricultural industry that are attractive for financing. They include poultry meat production, beef processing, sugar, cheese and cottage cheese production, fish farming, apple orchards, dairy farms, feedlots, reproducers, greenhouses, crop processing, and irrigation.
The agro-industrial complex of Kazakhstan is one of the most attractive sectors for investment, with its rich land resources and favorable geographical location, allowing Italian agricultural producers to enter the fast-growing markets of China, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Gulf countries.