March 31. Bernama. KUALA LUMPUR

KAZAKHSTAN KEEN TO BEEF UP DIRECT TRADE WITH M'SIA, SAYS ENVOYKazakhstan aims to conduct more direct trade with Malaysia in an effort to boost total trade between both nations, said its ambassador Beibut B. Atamkulov.

He said a significant portion of the bilateral trade was now conducted through third parties and this was “such a waste” as it was of no benefit to both countries.

In an interview with Bernama recently, he said Kazakhstan, one of the largest producer of uranium in the world, wants to move forward in diverse fields and increase bilateral investments.

Last year, bilateral trade between Malaysia and Kazakhstan amounted to RM345.52 million, up a whopping 307.8 per cent, from RM92.54 million recorded in 2009.

“Actual turnover is higher than the official figure because many Malaysian products such as rubber, palm oil, electronic items and furniture imported into Kazakhstan are traded through third parties.

“If you take these businesses into account, total trade will definitely be higher. Therefore, we will focus on doing more direct trade, without third party involvement, which means more reasonable pricing as well,” he added.

Atamkulov said the Kazakh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce, set up in October, would be another platform to boost trade as Kazakhstan was according greater attention to creating an appealing investment climate to draw more investors.

Kazakhstan is offering a seven per cent interest rate subsidy to Malaysian investors investing in the country. The interest rate in the central Asian country at present stood at 14 per cent.

He called on foreign investors to take advantage of Kazakhstan”s rich resources and help diversify the economy which was moving towards emerging among the top 50 countries with the most favourable business climate by 2020. Recently, foreign investors have had a considerable interest in the Kazakhstan market.

Fortune 1000 companies such as General Electric, FedEx, Microsoft and IBM are among those which have invested in Kazakhstan together with 30 Malaysian companies.

Unfortunately only 10 Kazakhstan companies are doing business in Malaysia.

Atamkulov said Malaysian companies should penetrate the surging oil and gas, energy, agriculture, Islamic banking, petrochemicals, pharmaceutical, construction, transportation and medical industries which offered enourmous business potential.

“With the joint economic zone between Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus, companies can not only enjoy unified taxes but also enhance their business network as Kazakhstan is well positioned as a transit location to expand. Besides, Atamkulov said the new China-Asean railroad project linking China to Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore would open many opportunities besides providing convenient and easier transport access for business players.

“For example, Malaysian businessmen can export products from China to Europe through the new railroad which would only take 14 days compared with sea which will take a minimum of 40 days,” he added.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to visit Kazakhstan in June to strengthen bilateral ties and is scheduled to sign various memorandums of understanding.

The ambassador said with more agreements expected to be inked, the stage would be set to promote more direct trade and investment ties between Malaysia and Kazakhstan.



Good investment prospects in Kazakhstan: Mustapa

Mar 29. Business Times

Malaysia’s largest trading partner in central Asia, is keen to have more investments from Malaysia and is providing attractive incentives.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who met its Deputy Prime Minister Yerbol Orynbayev at his office last week, said the country has big infrastructure plans as well as housing.

“The Construction Industry Development Board of Malaysia can look into these opportunities.”

Mustapa said companies also stand to enjoy incentives such as development grants as well as a 7 per cent subsidy in interest rates.

The oil-rich economy is enjoying strong growth and wants to accelerate the growth of its townships.

“We also discussed the prospects of importing tropical fruits for them and in return, export beef to Malaysia.”

In 2010, Malaysia’s bilateral trade with Kazakhstan recorded a 307.8 per cent growth in trade to US$107.2 million (RM324.82 million) from the previous year.

Malaysia’s main exports to Kazakhstan in 2010 include iron and steel products, electrical and electronic products, wood products, chemical products and palm oil.

Both countries may venture into assessing cooperation prospects in new areas such as science and technology especially biotechnology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Islamic finance, insurance and banking besides production of halal food for the global market.

To date, there is no significant investment between both countries, according to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.