World Monitor Magazine, Economy WM_April 2019 web version (2) - Page 10

DESTINATION europe Germany and Kazakhstan. forecast for economic cooperation The European Union continues to be Kazakhstan’s largest trading partner, and Germany is one of the most important partners for Kazakhstan in Europe. The German ambassador in Nur-Sultan, his Excellency Dr Tilo Klinner, talks about the latest developments in the area of economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and Germany and looks ahead to the next two years. Before my transfer to Kazakhstan in August 2018 I was Director for Foreign Trade and Investment at the German Federal Foreign office. I therefore regard strengthening the economic ties between our two countries as a very important task. Germany and Kazakhstan have many common interests especially, but not only, in the economic sphere, and that is why I am very pleased that I have been appointed as Germany’s ambassador to Kazakhstan. Tilo Klinner, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Kazakhstan With around 5.2 billion euros last year, the exchange of goods and services between our two countries is at a good level. Yet Kazakh exports of raw materials to Germany still account for a large part of this figure. We therefore need to broaden the basis of our bilateral trade and make the most of its potential. I am mainly thinking of the agriculture and food sectors, renewable energy, logistics and industry 4.0 as well as the chemical sector and mechanical engineering. In my opinion the medium- term potential of our trade exchange is twice as high as it is at the moment, and that is why we should aim to increase it to 10 billion euros over the next two years. I would like to work to strengthen the engagement of German firms in Kazakhstan. In general, German companies have a strong interest in being present in Kazakhstan. Only recently, for example, the German firm Wilo, the global leader for precision pumps, opened a new production site not far from Almaty, which is intended to service the entire Central Asian market. 8 world monitor In Saran in the region of Karaganda, I had an opportunity at the beginning of the year to attend the opening of Central Asia’s largest solar power plant by the German investor Goldbeck Solar. Other German companies such as BASF, Siemens and Metro have been doing business in Kazakhstan for a long time. In order to attract German and European investment to the country, however, the framework conditions must be right as well. Only if the companies that are already active in the Kazakh market are successful will it be possible to attract new investors. We want to work on this together with our Kazakh partners. A meeting of the German- Kazakh intergovernmental working group on economy and trade is scheduled to take place on 11 April 2019. This year’s meeting is set to have a packed agenda. The new European-Kazakh economic platform is scheduled to meet for the first time in May. At this meeting, diplomatic representatives from the European Union and European companies will, for the first time, have the opportunity to articulate our concerns in direct talks with the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan. Overall, the investment climate has improved in recent years. Kazakhstan has recently undertaken major reform efforts and, above all, achieved a notable improvement of the investment climate by restructuring investment promotion and investor protection. However, and this is something we must state quite