CzechTrade to open office in Kazakhstan this year

Prague, June 30 (CTK) – CzechTrade, the national trade promotion agency of the Czech Industry and Trade Ministry, would like to open its office in Kazakhstan by the end of the year, Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Milan Hovorka said during a conference on EU-Kazakhstan strategic partnership Tuesday.

The planned office in Almaty centre is to strengthen economic relations between the two countries, Hovorka said.

Kazakhstan is the most important trade partner of the Czech Republic in Central Asia. Since April, Kazakhstan has been one of the 12 priority countries in export promotion.

Kazakh Ambassador Anarbek Karashev recalled that over 70 companies owned by Czechs have been established in Kazakhstan so far and that 20 Czech companies have their offices in the country.

Czech lower house deputy chairman Vojtech Filip (Communists, KSCM) said Czech entrepreneurs were not interested enough in investment opportunities in Kazakhstan.

“Politicians have opened the door, but nobody entered through them,” Filip said.

Hovorka said Czech entrepreneurs were still getting acquainted with the possibilities to invest in the two countries.

He said commissions for economic cooperation of the two countries are to meet on September 21 and a business forum will be held.

In 2007, the Czech exports to Kazakhstan were worth some 2.6 billion crowns, a 27-percent increase compared to 2006.

Kazakhstan exports mainly gas to the Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic imported gas worth 7.5 billion crowns from Kazakhstan in 2008. Kazakhstan is the third biggest exporter of gas to the country, following Russia and Azerbaijan.

($1=18.506 crowns)