World Monitor Magazine, Business and Investments WM_march 2019_web - Page 12

DESTINATION KAZAKHSTAN Bilateral cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU After Central Asian countries gained independence, the European Union, being one of the key investors, trading partners and donors, has played and continues to play an important role in strengthening the economies of these countries for 26 years. Today, the European Union is our reliable partner interested in the prosperity and unity of the Central Asian states. Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan fully supports the existing inter- regional cooperation with the European Union and considers it as one of the additional tools for ensuring the sustainable development of our country and region as a whole. The European Union’s Strategy for Central Asia, adopted in 2007, has become an important conductor of EU interests in the region, creating the necessary foundation and giving a positive impetus to EU cooperation with Central Asian countries. Over the twelve years of its existence, the Strategy has established itself as a fairly effective integrated tool for inter-regional cooperation. The projects carried out within its framework contribute to the development of the region and the realization of the existing potential of its states. Today, the main trading partner of the European Union in the region remains Kazakhstan, which was confirmed by the Agreement on Extended Partnership and Cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU and its member-states signed in December 2015. This Agreement opens up new prospects for mutual trade, economic and investment cooperation. According to statistical data for 2018, trade turnover amounted to $ 37.7 billion, 10 world monitor showing an increase of 25.7% - $ 7.7 billion ($ 30 billion – in 2017). In addition, the European Union is the largest investor in Kazakhstan. The total volume of foreign direct investment from the EU attracted to the economy of Kazakhstan in the first half of 2018 amounted to $ 12.3 billion, which is 15% higher compared to the same period in 2017 (in 2017 - $ 9.8 billion). In general, since 2005, about $ 135.7 billion (49% of the total FDI in the economy of Kazakhstan) has been attracted to the economy of Kazakhstan from the EU countries. Today, with the participation of companies of the European Union, 24 large-scale investment projects worth about $ 3 billion are being implemented in Kazakhstan. We intend to maintain the current dynamics and make additional efforts to further increase them. In order to successfully promote the export of Kazakh products to the EU markets, systematic work is being carried out to ensure that national products comply with the high standards of OECD and EU countries. Returning to the topic of multilateral cooperation, Kazakhstan welcomed the decision of the EU to conduct the large-scale review of the strategy for Central Asia and to prepare an entirely new policy document by mid-2019, taking into account new