Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA

KazCham


Swiss businesspeople to invest in Kazakhstan 0

Posted on November 26, 2016 by KazCham

Centil Law Firm BI@centil.law

Swiss businesspeople have met with local counterparts in search of new cooperation options and discussed plans for expanding partnerships. In particular, foreign investors have proposed a number of interesting projects related to banking, transport logistics, construction, healthcare and tourism. They are interested in Kazakhstan because it provides them with a link to the Chinese market. From there, they are also ready to enter the Russian market.

One of the outcomes of these meetings has been the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Kazakh Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce Switzerland-Russia/CIS.

During the course of the negotiations, a Swiss construction company offered to build a brick factory in Kazakhstan. As noted by investors, a special combination of cement and wood will enable homes to retain heat better. One of the advantages of the project, according to business officials, is the low cost of products. In addition, there will be no need to import building materials from abroad.

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Saudi signs nuclear deal with Kazakhstan 0

Posted on November 24, 2016 by KazCham

Centil Law Firm BI@centil.law

Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan have signed a nuclear deal as part of a new deal to improve bilateral relations between the two countries.

A cooperation agreement relating to the peaceful use of nuclear energy was signed by the president of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, Dr Hashim Yamani, and Kazakhstan’s Minister for Energy, Kanat Bozumbayev.

Memorandums of understanding were also signed in the fields of agriculture, livestock, water, the extradition of wanted persons, and the transfer of prisoners.

Saudi Arabia is one of several Middle Eastern states looking into setting up a nuclear power programme. Although its nuclear programme is in its infancy, the Kingdom has plans to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 years. A 2010 royal decree identified nuclear power as essential to help meet growing energy demand for both electricity generation and water desalination, while reducing reliance on depleting hydrocarbon resources.

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Kazakhstan to create a cargo airline 0

Posted on November 21, 2016 by KazCham

Centil Law Firm BI@centil.law

This task is assigned to the national carrier Air Astana together with the state logistics operator Kazakhstan Railway. According to the railway operator, the new cargo airline will begin flights in 2017, with China, Europe, Iran, Russia and Turkey among the first destinations.

Kazakhstan is now actively working on the development of freight hubs in the country’s airports. This year, the air hub of Karaganda was the first air harbour in Kazakhstan, which has been validated according to the requirements of European aviation authorities RA3.

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Kazakhstan opens first trade centre in Shanghai’s free trade zone 0

Posted on November 20, 2016 by KazCham

Centil Law Firm BI@centil.law

Kazakhstan’s first trade centre has opened in Shanghai’s free trade zone. The shopping centre will offer products manufactured in Kazakhstan only. This is a great opportunity for Kazakh entrepreneurs to enter the 30-million Shanghai market that is located next to the three provinces with a total population of 200 million people. For Chinese buyers, the centre provides better access to eco-friendly consumer products.

Kazakh producers are planning to sell fish, beef and mutton. China imports 7 million tonnes of meat every year, and Kazakhstan can meet some of this demand. The Chinese government will soon give permission for importing fish products from Kazakhstan and Kazakh producers will be assisted in selling their goods. Businesses will be assisted with paperwork and translations and will receive consultations.

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ADB to provide $200 million for SMEs in Kazakhstan 0

Posted on November 19, 2016 by KazCham

Centil Law Firm BI@centil.law

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $200 million equivalent loan to provide much-needed financing in local currency to micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Kazakhstan.

The loan will be channelled through the Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund, a government-owned agency mandated to provide loans and guarantees to MSMEs through qualified microfinance organisations and local banks. The ADB loan will be provided in tenge to reduce currency-related risks for financial institutions and their borrowers.

In addition to the loan, the ADB will provide a technical assistance grant of $500,000, financed by the Government of Luxembourg through the Financial Sector Development Partnership Special Fund to help improve the credit risk management of selected financial institutions and expand financing opportunities for MSMEs.

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FUTURE ENERGY: 217 DAYS TILL BEGINNING OF THE ASTANA EXPO 2017 0

Posted on November 16, 2016 by KazCham

EXPO 2017 Begins Transfer of Pavilions to Participants, Construction on Schedule

Astana Times

Individuals connected with EXPO 2017 unveiled the designs of the Kazakh, German and Chinese pavilions as the buildings were transferred to the participating countries on Oct. 31.

Chairman of Astana EXPO 2017 national company Akhmetzhan Yessimov noted construction of the main pavilion, informally known as the “Ball” or “Sphere,” will be finished by the New Year’s. Work on the interior will then begin. “The ‘ball’ is the main pavilion. It will be completed by the end of this year, but there is a lot of work on the content filling, which will take place until May of next year. There will be eight floors and each will disclose certain themes of the exhibition: space, solar, wind, water and so on. The same can be said of the thematic pavilions; they are completed and now the work on the content will begin. The most important thing is the construction of all the facilities will be completed for the New Year, in addition to the Congress Hall and the hotel. They will be needed only during the exhibition, so all works are on schedule. In addition, public areas will be completed in the spring,” he said as the ceremony.

The details of the German pavilion, called Energy Turnaround, were explained by German Ambassador in Kazakhstan Rolf Mafael. Astana Akim (mayor) Asset Issekeshev was present for the event.

“It means a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and energy-effective management. The national pavilion will be in four stages. First, visitors are offered to feel the new world of the future of energy. In the second, the audience will be presented with a new energy map of the world and the layout of the wind park in Yereimentau. In the next room, visitors can get acquainted with the ‘smart’ city, like in a computer – the prospect of increasing or decreasing from a global to a local perspective. In the last room, we will feel what the energy turnaround is. All visitors at the beginning will get a small drive stick and with it they will be able to activate all the exhibits – to be able to touch and study them. At the end, they will accumulate energy and see what they can do with this energy. This is a great laser show,” he said.

China is second in the world in renewable energy sources (RES), noted Chinese EXPO 2017 Commissioner Wang Tszinchzhen.

“We want to take this opportunity to show our achievements in the field of renewable energy. We are also going to present a number of events on the topic of technology, for example in the field of tourism, as well as take part in the forums on the subject of technology. China’s largest technology company will present their achievements. We will hold a few forums on this subject and we are prepared in this regard to support the Kazakh company. We are ready to assist not only in the energy sector, but also in the agro-industrial complex and other areas. We invite all of the business community to our pavilions to discuss ways of cooperation,” he said.

The completion of five key exhibition objects was also announced – International Pavilion, EXPO Town with 1,374 rooms, EXPO office building, Department of the Interior and Energy Research Centre.

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Kazakhstan Bonds Are Better Than U.S. Treasurys 0

Posted on November 10, 2016 by KazCham

Forbes

Believe it or not, over the last three months, Kazakhstan bond investors have done a better job preserving wealth than those holding Treasury debt. In fact, Treasury bonds and Kazakhstan bonds, both investment grade (though KZ obviously on the low end of the scale) have seen their prices rise and yield contract. But since August, there has been a great unwinding of old-QE economy debt and KZ stands as the perfect testament to that. How can this little known asset be one of the best bond markets around?

The last time Kazakhstan issued a sovereign bond was in 2015 for 2024 and 2044 bonds yielding around 4.6% and 6.2% respectively in dollars. But as of Wednesday, the 2024s were yielding just 3.6%, a full 100 basis points lower.

In other words, Kazakhstan bonds have buyers. U.S. government debt has sellers.

“If this keeps up, I think you have to go and buy bonds elsewhere for a better return,” says Jan Dehn, head of research at Ashmore Group in London, a $52.6 billion emerging markets fund manager with holdings in Kazakhstan. “For an investment grade credit, their yield is okay. Their ability and their willingness to pay debt is very high. You have more indebted investment grade countries in the West that pay outright negative yields,” he says.

Something is happening in the developed economies. They are recognizing that negative interest rates are bad for financials. Zero interest rates are not doing what they were supposed to, get corporations to invest, and quantitative easing has been all about the major central banks, namely the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank, buying and selling bonds and debt derivatives at a penny more than they bought them the day before, pushing yields to the floor. That trade is unwinding. Countries like Kazakhstan that are seen as a generally low credit risk will benefit, even as volatility is expected once the QE trade draws down.

Moody’s changed its outlook on Kazakhstan debt to negative in April, which is a 12 month warning that KZ might lose its investment grade title. Oil prices were of course to blame. But on Oct. 31, Fitch affirmed KZ’s BBB rating with a stable outlook.  Good news.

Kazakhstan’s economy is the best of the ‘Stans. “It’s even much more interesting for investors than Ukraine, for example,” says Arent Thijsen, a fund manager with Blauwtulp Wealth Management in Rotterdam.

The currency, clobbered over the last three years, has been strengthening since February. UBS in London and Renaissance Capital in Moscow expect the currency to remain stable rather than move in one direction for long, according to reports published in early October.

Says Dehn in London, “If for some reasons KZ loses its investment grade, I would buy more.”

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10 of the best places to go skiing – readers’ tips 0

Posted on November 09, 2016 by KazCham

The Guardian

From the country’s largest city, Almaty, the Shymbulak ski slopes are on your doorstep and everything is easy and reasonably priced. The resort is small, but there were no queues at any point. From the gondola at Medeu to the toilets and lockers at the slopes, the services are all fine. It’s not a resort for novices though: the main long slopes are red and there are only a few short blues. At 4pm the slopes are in the shade and get icy. It’s well worth going over to the other side of the mountain, for glacier views, and three short blue slopes. Of course, flying to Kazakhstan is expensive but the skiing can be made very cheap by renting gear from Extremal on the corner of Dostyk and Al Ferabi streets in Almaty: it’s half the price of the slopes rental place. Take the frequent number 12 bus from Extremal to the Medeu gondola.

• Weekday ski pass £12 (£19 at weekends).

Read more at The Guardian

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Kazakhstan among Top Global Improvers in Doing Business Report 0

Posted on November 09, 2016 by KazCham

Astana Calling

The 2017 World Bank Doing Business report, released Oct. 25, noted Kazakhstan is among the 10 most-improved economies, climbing 16 positions since 2015. The country is ranked 35th among 190 nations in the category “ease of doing business.”

Joining Kazakhstan on the top improvers list, the result of implementing at least three reforms in the past year, are Brunei, Kenya, Belarus, Indonesia, Serbia, Georgia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.

“This significant improvement has been ensured by four of 10 indicators; namely, by facilitating the procedures for obtaining permits for construction, ease of registering property, improving the protection of the rights of minority investors and contract enforcement. It is a good achievement for Kazakhstan,” Centre for Strategic Initiatives senior partner Olzhas Khudaibergenov told The Astana Times.

Improved performance in the Doing Business ranking typically indicates a lower level of income inequality and reduced poverty.

Read more at Astana Calling

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The Interview of the Ambassador Kairat Umarov to the Diplomatic Connections 0

Posted on November 07, 2016 by KazCham

Diplomatic Connections

Outside the Kazakhstan Embassy in Washington, D.C. stands a statue of the “Golden Warrior” astride the figure of a winged snow leopard from Kazakh folklore. The “Golden Warrior” is a replica of a gold plated suit that clothed the skeleton of an ancient prince and was discovered as part of the 1969 excavation of a burial mound from nomadic Scythian-Saka civilization (VII BC). The statue is not only an icon of Kazakhstan’s independence but a patriotic reflection of the country’s proud history of defending its lands from invaders, ancient cultural heritage, accomplishments and hopes for a peaceful, secure and prosperous future. This year it also marks an important anniversary, 25 years of Kazakhstan’s independence.

Ambassador Kairat Umarov embodies the legacy of the Golden Warrior tradition pursuing peace and security as he seeks to extend his country’s diplomatic presence in Washington, D.C. He was kind enough to extend “Diplomatic Connections” an in-depth interview.

Diplomatic Connections: How did the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 affect Kazakhstan’s diplomatic efforts? It was suddenly a very different proposition no longer to be a Soviet republic but to be an independent state.

Ambassador Umarov: Exactly. We had to build our foreign ministry from scratch. All the rest of the ministries had more or less existed as part of the regional government dealing with local issues within the framework of the Soviet Union. But, becoming an independent country meant that it was necessary to deal not only with regional issues but with the whole range of global issues. That was a very difficult and challenging time.

Diplomatic Connections: What was it like to join this fledgling Foreign Ministry? 

Ambassador Umarov: When Kazakhstan became independent a set of rules and principles was presented to those entering the Foreign Service. One of those rules was that a diplomat must work for the good of the state and its people; but at the same time, a diplomat is expected to facilitate relations between states in order to avoid conflict and ensure peace and stability.

We continue to cherish those goals in our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We hold them in very high esteem. I am very glad that today we have a highly professional foreign service which has more than 70 diplomatic missions all over the world, where 25 years ago there was nothing.

Diplomatic Connections: Kazakhstan occupies a unique geostrategic space, literally between Europe and Asia. How does geography affect Kazakhstan’s diplomacy?

Ambassador Umarov: Geography plays an important role in our foreign policy. Kazakhstan is at the heart of Eurasia. We have the world’s longest border with Russia, longer than the border between the United States and Canada. We have a long border with China. Our neighbors are Central Asian countries, and we are in close proximity to India, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. We are at the crossroads of civilizations serving as a bridge between East and West, North and South.

Our position from the very first days of our independence was to develop friendly relations, cooperative ties with our neighbors and with our major trading and security partners. We stand for mutually beneficial relations that can jointly help to develop our economies. There is a golden rule of diplomacy that in order to succeed it is necessary to be mindful not only of your own country’s interests but of your diplomatic partners’ interests as well.

Diplomatic Connections: Kazakhstan’s foreign policy is often described in official publications as “multi-vectored.” What is meant by that term?

Ambassador Umarov: The world today is not a simple one. Relations between states are made up of complex interdependencies. As my President Nursultan Nazarbayev defines it, multi-vectored diplomacy means a balanced, well-conceived, predictable and responsible foreign policy aimed at avoiding conflicts by building trust and mutual understanding in pursuit of peace.

In April 2016, during a visit to the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., President Nazarbayev unveiled his vision for a secure world in “Manifesto. The World. The 21st Century.” There he actually “declared war on war” appealing for a new mentality that would eliminate war as a way of life and underscoring the responsibility of leading world powers to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free-world in this century.

At the beginning of our independence, of course, people could not understand what this sort of policy would mean. How could a country like Kazakhstan develop strong relations with such different countries as the Russian Federation, China, the United States as well as organizations like the EU, NATO and the OSCE? But, at the end of the day, we can say this policy has proven itself right. The policy has made Kazakhstan more stable and more secure.

Read full article at Diplomatic Connections

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