Kazakhstan, Japan Strive to Boost Economic Cooperation

May 04. MFA

Kazakhstan, Japan Strive to Boost Economic CooperationAstana and Tokyo take a step forward in expanding bilateral relations by signing a total of six documents on enhancing economic cooperation as well as a Road Map, which involves 40 industrial projects in the Kazakh economy’s priority sectors, including the nuclear and petrochemical industries, mining and metallurgical complex, and high technologies.

The agreements were reached Wednesday during talks between Kazakh Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev and Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano, who arrived in Kazakhstan with the Japanese business delegation to meet with Kazakhstan’s government officials.

At the meeting the parties discussed prospects of cooperation between the two countries. As Asset Issekeshev noted Kazakhstan attaches great importance to cooperation with Japan in the field of industry, investment, energy efficiency, development of new technologies.

“Important areas of signed memoranda include activities in green economy, green energy, project implementation in the field of energy efficiency, and modernization of local power plants. We also have several projects in the area of innovation and science, including the development of nuclear technologies,” Issekeshev says.

A Memorandum between the Kazakh national nuclear company Kazatomprom and two Japanese firms: “Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation” and leading trading company “Sumitomo Corporation” secures the willingness of the two countries to jointly establish a rare earth metal extraction venture in Kazakhstan. The plant will reportedly be built in the northern Kazakh town of Stepnogorsk.

The parties also came to agreement on cooperation in the field of science, in particular, in elaborating the technology of dealing with radioactive waste. Taking into account Japan’s experience in combating the aftermath of the accident at the “Fukushima-1” nuclear power plant, Kazakhstan National Nuclear Center (NNC) and “Toshiba” Corporation agreed to share the Japanese scientists’ experience with the Kazakh colleagues on how to avoid such disasters.

According to Yukio Edano, Japan has always been interested in developing cooperation with Kazakhstan, and this time the signed documents are mainly focused on the development and production of rare earth metals. “I think the importance of your country (in this area) will only grow,” Minister Edano notes.

Apart from that, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation will fund some projects of KazAtomProm nuclear company in the long run. However, its timing, amounts of money and terms has not been specified yet.

Minister Issekeshev and his Japanese counterpart also signed an Agreement on Economic Cooperation, including the Road Map on promoting economic and investment relations as well as implementing major industrial projects within the State Programme on Accelerated Industrial-Innovative Development of Kazakhstan.

Japan’s Minister Yukio Edano also held a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Kazykhanov. The sides expressed mutual interest to deepen partnership between the two countries and pointed out a high level of political cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats.

Emphasizing the positive dynamics of the trade turnover and increase of direct investments, Minister Kazykhanov noted that it is necessary to expand the contractual legal base between Kazakhstan and Japan. In particular, he spoke about accelerating the negotiation process and signing the Agreement on Liberalization, Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments which is also aimed at increasing the volume of Japan’s investments to Kazakhstan in form of new and innovative technologies.

Touching upon the issues of further development of trade and economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation, the parties noted the importance of opening of direct air routes between Kazakhstan and Japan.


* * *

Kazakhstan Targets to Supply Japan Nuclear Fuel in 2013

May 04. IBTimes

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa

KazAtomProm, Kazakhstan’s national nuclear company, as part of a number of signed agreements between Kazakhstan and Japan earlier in the week, said on Thursday it wants to begin exporting nuclear fuel components to Japan by as early as 2013.

Sergei Yashin, vice head of KazAtomProm, said the agreements signed between the two countries involved “not only extraction, but also manufacturing of high-tech fuel pellets at Kazakhstan-based facilities,” en.tengrinews.kz quoted Mr Yashin as saying.

The KazAtomProm executive further said the company has obtained production qualification and certification to commence extending services for the production of nuclear fuel components by early 2013.

KazAtomProm is Kazakhstan’s major exporter of uranium and its compounds, rare metals, nuclear fuel for nuclear power stations, special equipment, technologies and dual-usage materials.

“Our only plant will be manufacturing high-tech products such as uranium powders and tablets,” Mr Yashin said.

From January to March of this year, KazAtomProm produced 2,600 tonnes of uranium, a 4 per cent increase compared to a year ago. Its consolidated revenues for the period totaled $346.9 million.

Overall uranium production in Kazakhstan for the first quarter of the year jumped 5 per cent to a total of 4,666 tonnes.

Ulba Metallurgical Works, a company part of KazAtomProm, reported increased production of uranium in 2011, 9 per cent up against 2010, to a total of 19,450 tonnes. Plans are presently being laid to increase the figure to 25,000 tonnes annually by 2015.