GOVERNMENT: Kazakhstan's investment attractiveness continues to grow

ASTANA. KAZINFORM - Kazakhstan's investment attractiveness continues to grow despite the economic crisis that swept the world. Plus, the country plans to introduce a new system of natural resource accounting to lure more foreign investments into geological exploration.

This week First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev met with a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Vice Premier of the State Council of China Zhang Gaoli in Astana. At the meeting, Mr. Sagintayev noted that ‘China has always been and will be one of the top priorities of our foreign policy. The relations between the two nations have reached a new level of comprehensive strategic character'. The First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan also stressed that President Nazarbayev‘s new economic policy "Nurly Zhol" (The Path to the Future) and the initiative of the President Xi Jinping "One Belt, One Road" echo each other, opening up new prospects of mutually beneficial partnership for the countries. During the talks, the sides touched upon issues of bilateral cooperation. In particular, the transfer of production capacity from China to Kazakhstan, cooperation within the framework of large-scale transport projects, cooperation with regard to trans-boundary water resources, energy, agriculture, as well as the opportunity to increase exports of traditional Kazakh products (copper, ferrochrome, iron ore pellets, rolled steel) to China. Given the high economic and investment potential of eastern and southeastern provinces of China, as well as the growing economic importance of Xinjiang, Kazakhstan offers to create a forum of interregional cooperation of Kazakhstan and China. Chairman of the committee for investments of the Ministry of Investment and Development of Kazakhstan Yerlan Khairov held a press conference on Tuesday where he talked about attraction of foreign investments into Kazakhstan. In his words, over the past decade Kazakhstan has attracted nearly $208 billion of direct foreign investments. "Inflow of foreign investments into Kazakhstan has amounted to $20 billion only over the last five years. Meanwhile, other countries, especially the developed ones, have recently seen a sharp drop in inflow of foreign investments. The Netherlands, the U.S., Switzerland, China and France remain the key investors of Kazakhstan," he said. Mr. Khairov also added that Kazakhstan plans to implement about 60 projects jointly with Chinese and Turkish investors. "An exhibition of these projects was held in Kazakhstan during the visit of the Turkish President. Together with Turkish investors we intend to implement about 20 projects in the immediate future. We also plan to implement approximately 38 joint projects in different sectors with our Chinese colleagues," Y. Khairov noted. According to him, these projects are mainly concentrated in the processing sector.

In order to attract more foreign investments into geological exploration and mining, Kazakhstan will introduce a new system of natural resource accounting. Minister of Energy Vladimir Shkolnik told a press conference in Astana on Friday, June 26, that Kazakhstan plans to drop the old system of natural resource accounting and introduce the new one in next three years.

Minister Shkolnik stressed that the existing system does not take into account the fluctuations in oil prices. "Besides," he said, "the exchange houses and international financial institutes do not recognize the old system used in Kazakhstan."

He also added that President Nursultan Nazarbayev highlighted the need to introduce the new system in his "Kazakhstan-2050" Development Strategy.

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