ASTANA – Kazakh and United States (U.S.) officials and business leaders explored new investment opportunities and cooperation prospects at a June 7 U.S. – Kazakhstan Investment Roundtable in Astana.
Addressing the participants, Kazakh Minister of National Economy Alibek Kuantyrov emphasized decades-long cooperation with major U.S. companies and the growth of U.S. investments and companies in Kazakhstan.
“Kazakhstan is ready to facilitate enhanced strategic partnership with the U.S. across the entire spectrum of our relations. I hope this roundtable will play a tremendous role in creating closer connections between our countries and opening more opportunities for our businesses to invest and to strive,” he said.
Kuantyrov noted that Kazakhstan attracted a record amount of foreign direct investment last year – $28 billion. The country’s commitment to international investment norms, including as part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), enables it to be fully recognized as a reliable trading and economic partner by foreign investors.
According to Khush Choksy, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Kazakhstan has ample opportunities, and its geography is a blessing. Even if sometimes it can be a constraint, technology does not have those physical geographic boundaries.
In his view, the two countries have particularly significant opportunities to expand their cooperation in the agricultural sector, with U.S. companies bringing innovation and technology.
“Considering the situation on the global market, energy and food tariffs will grow, and these are areas that we would love to see growth with our companies,” said Choksy.
David De Falco, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Department of Commerce, highlighted the importance of Kazakh reforms that can serve as a model for others in the region to look at and aspire to achieve.
“We are working together through the various programs that we have institutionalized to make sure that we create an inclusive environment that also allows companies to innovate and to provide and increase the standard of living for our citizens,” he said.
Kazakh Invest Chairman Meirzhan Yussupov stressed several reasons for Kazakh investment attractiveness, including access to major markets, abundant natural resources, business friendly-environment, qualified and educated workforces, and comprehensive state support.
He also highlighted bilateral investment cooperation between the two countries, including seven ongoing and 13 prospective projects in oil and gas, agriculture, machinery building, ICT industry, renewable energy, healthcare, and mining and metallurgy areas.
U.S. business representatives expressed their willingness to expand collaboration with Kazakhstan and find new opportunities for further investment development.