ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov and Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili emphasized increasing mutual growth, boosting investment cooperation, and developing transport infrastructure at a meeting on June 23 in Tbilisi, where Smailov arrived on an official visit, reported the Kazakh Prime Minister’s press service.
Smailov noted that the countries have already achieved excellent results in the trade and economic sector, which will allow them to surpass the $1 billion mark soon.
With trade turnover hitting a record high of $600 million last year, the countries still observe an increase in mutual trade in 2023, with fivefold volume growth to $167 million in four months.
Regarding investment cooperation, Smailov noted that over the past 17 years, Georgian entrepreneurs have invested about $400 million in Kazakhstan, with over $100 million recorded in 2022. Kazakhstan invested over $530 million in Georgia’s economy.
The Kazakh Prime Minister invited Georgian partners to work in the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), which guarantees the protection of foreign investments in Kazakhstan by law.
Smailov highlighted the key role of the transit and transport sphere in cooperation because major transcontinental transport corridors pass through the two countries’ territories as the shortest routes from Europe to China and Southeast Asia.
At a press briefing following the talks, the Kazakh Prime Minister paid particular attention to the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), recalling the adopted 2022-2027 joint roadmap for eliminating bottlenecks and developing the corridor.
“We are keen to increase the volume of cargo transportation via the TITR up to 10 million tons in the mid-term perspective,” said Smailov.
The meeting agenda included the establishment of a logistics operator on the TITR and the digitalization of the cargo traffic passing through the route.
The parties signed a trilateral agreement on the basic principles of establishing and operating the joint venture between Kazakhstan Temir Zholy and Georgian Railway. This document was signed with Azerbaijani Railroads the day before, aiming to deal with tariff policy and cargo handling and facilitate transportation processes.
“We cooperate to remove bottlenecks on the TITR and make it more attractive for Central Asia, China, and other Asian countries in general,” said Garibashvili.
According to Garibashvili, Georgia makes substantial investments in the railroad’s modernization and works on other significant projects, particularly constructing a new port.
Smailov revealed plans to expand cooperation with Georgia on developing routes in the Caspian-Black Sea basin, underscoring the importance of freight transport operations using the capacity of Kazakh seaports.
The parties reviewed prospects for strengthening cooperation in agriculture and tourism, and implementing new technological products.
Kazakhstan’s Canadian Chicken and AgroTechManagement companies signed commercial agreements with Georgia’s Industrial Group envisaging investment worth around $50 million in the construction of an agricultural and special machinery plant.
The funds will also be allocated to create an agricultural cluster, including a bird and animal feed plant, a poultry farm, and a fish feed plant in Kazakhstan.
In addition, the Kazakh Ministry of Energy and the Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development signed a memorandum of understanding to develop cooperation at the Batumi oil terminal further.