International integration

Kazakhstan ready to realize transit and transport potential in the interests of interconnected Eurasia

Enhanced transport and logistics cooperation and strengthened connectivity in its broadest sense were the central focuses of the high-level Romanian EU presidency-sponsored Conference on Central Asia entitled “Interconnectedness for sustainable development” on 15-16 April in Bucharest. The Kazakh diplomat briefed in detail the EU leaders, ministers of foreign affairs and transport of Europe and Central Asia on the development of the country’s [Kazakhstan] transport and logistics infrastructure while pairing Nurly Zhol program and Belt and Road initiative, the Foreign Ministry press release reads.
World17 April , 12:41

While addressing the Conference, the Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister, Roman Vassilenko, stated the theme’s relevance and importance to interaction between the EU and Central Asia.

According to Roman Vassilenko, Kazakhstan’s transit and transport potential’s full realization is key to implementing the idea of reviving the Great Silk Road and forming interconnected Eurasia.

“The synergy among the two programs brings favorable conditions to attract foreign investments, the latest technologies and promote Kazakh goods’ exports. As the first country on the Chinese initiative’s route towards Europe, we [Kazakhstan] are a gateway between China and Europe and key to the Eurasian continental bridge,” he said.

“The Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister welcomed the adoption of the EU Strategy for the interconnectedness of Europe and Asia in 2018, expressing confidence that it would promote the Kazakh leadership’s vision to position Central Asia as a strategic bridge between global markets and the concept of Greater Eurasia coined by first Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, stating closer cooperation between the largest trade and economic projects. In a recent interview, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev fully supported the idea of Greater Eurasia,” reads the statement.  

Bilateral meetings enabled to discuss the state of and prospects for cooperation with the EU, Romania, Poland, Croatia and other countries.

While meeting EU special representative for Central Asia Peter Burian, the pressing issues of bilateral and regional cooperation, the approval process of the new EU Strategy for Central Asia, as well as the entry into force of the treaty on enhanced partnership and cooperation between Kazakhstan and the European Union and its member states came under discussion.

The meeting with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Meleșcanu marked the positive trend and reliable cooperation and the need to maintain the momentum of political and economic contacts.

Both parties were committed to further enhanced cooperation in transport, transfer, technologies, culture and education, including student exchange and scholarship programs.  

The meeting with Romanian Ministry of Business Environment, co-Chairman of the Kazakhstan-Romania Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic and Science and Technology Cooperation Gabriela Voicila looked at prospects for strengthened trade and economic and investment cooperation. In particular, the operation of over 30 enterprises in the Kazakh market involving Romanian capital indicates the mutual interest of the two countries’ business circles. In turn, Kazakhstan selected Romania as a hub to export Caspian oil as demonstrated by the successful operation of one of the largest investors in the country’s economy – “KazMunayGas International” Company.

In 2018, the bilateral trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Romania rose by 45%, totaling US$1.7bn. The trade and economic cooperation largely takes place in energy, machinery, metallurgy, transport, logistics and light industry.

The visit’s second day on 16 April 2019 in Bucharest featured the participation of the Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister in the international conference “Agenda until 2030: partnership in the interest of sustainable development”, where EU, EaP, Western Balkans and Central Asian representatives discussed the SDGs’ implementation.

Roman Vasikenko also met Grampet Group president Gruia Stoica, which is the largest private transport company in southeastern Europe, discussing prospects to invest in the Kazakh transport sector. In September 2018, Grampet Group of companies was the first European company to join the trans-Caspian international transport route. Gruia Stoica expressed willingness to build a joint enterprise to produce and mend railway freight wagons in Kazakhstan.

The visit reaffirmed reliable and constructive nature of both Kazakhstan-EU interaction and bilateral cooperation with Romania and other European countries, in particular, the parties’ commitment to enhanced political, economic and humanitarian contacts.   

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