Iran and Kazakhstan to Increase Trade Turnover Fourfold

June 29. MFA

Iran and Kazakhstan to Increase Trade Turnover FourfoldMinister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi paid a working visit to Astana on June 27. During the visit he held meetings with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov and headed the Iranian delegation at the 12th meeting of Kazakh-Iranian intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation. The meetings resulted in vows to boost cooperation in various spheres of bilateral relations and within international organisations.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev noted the bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and Iran are successfully developing at the highest level.

“Kazakhstan is ready to expand and strengthen our friendly relations and enhance cooperation in trade and economic spheres. Today, the trade turnover between our countries amounts to about U.S. $ 1 billion, which does not fully reflect the potential and possibilities of our states,” Nazarbayev stated.

According to Kazakhstan’s President, certain instability is being observed in the region.  The situations in Afghanistan and Syria are becoming more and more unpredictable. Kazakhstan has been providing support to Iran consistently and at all levels, and has always advocated a diplomatic resolution of international issues in various fields, he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister, in turn, noted that the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad deeply respects Nursultan Nazarbayev as a prominent political figure on the international arena. Ali Akbar Salehi also invited the President of Kazakhstan to the Summit of heads of member states of the Non-proliferation movement.

The same day Salehi met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Yerzhan Kazykhanov. The sides discussed the current state and future directions of bilateral cooperation, issues of cooperation within international organisations, and exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Iran, having a great economic potential and favorable geopolitical location, is an important trade partner of Kazakhstan in the Middle East,” Kazyhanov said. He expressed confidence that the 12th session of the Kazakh-Iranian intergovernmental commission will give additional impetus to the development of bilateral trade and economic relations, joint projects, and mutual investment.

The two Foreign Ministers also agreed on the early completion of a railway route Uzen – Gyzylgaya – Bereket – Etrek – Gorgan (Kazakhstan – Turkmenistan – Iran), which will be the best transportation route for the north-south corridor, and will enhance trade and economic relations of Central Asian states with the Middle East. This will help realise the potential for wider cooperation in agriculture.

Speaking of the current issue of Iran’s nuclear programme, Yerzhan Kazykhanov noted that Kazakhstan supports the resolution of this issue solely by diplomatic means, adhering to greater transparency and following international principles of the IAEA.

Touching upon coordination in multilateral format, the Foreign Ministers discussed issues of cooperation within the UN, the OIC, the CICA, the ECO, and the SCO.

Regarding Astana’s priorities in its presidency within the OIC Foreign Ministers Council, the sides discussed the establishment of food security mechanisms in the Islamic world, the expansion of investment between countries, and attracting more attention to agricultural cooperation.

The 12th meeting of the Kazakh-Iranian intergovernmental cooperation held the same day was chaired by the Kazakh Minister of Transport and Communications Askar Zhumagaliyev. Opening the session, he noted cooperation between the two countries is developing virtually in every sphere of economy.

The transports agencies of the two countries have been implementing the Uzen – Gorgan railway project since 2009. Kazakhstan’s part of the railway was completed at the end of last year. The sides agreed that the Iranian side completes construction works by late 2012.

According to the Iranian Foreign Minister, after the project is completed, transit and trade volume between the two countries will increase from U.S. $ 1.2 billion to U.S. $ 5 billion.

In the field of maritime transport, the sides decided to hold the third meeting of the heads of ports and shipping organisations in Kazakhstan, as well as consider the establishment of logistics centres in the surrounding areas of ports of the two countries.

In the trade and economic spheres the two countries expressed their willingness to hold each other’s Economy Days in the two countries, and to hold the third session of Kazakh-Iranian working group on trade and economic cooperation in Astana.

In agricultural sphere, the sides reached an agreement on joint research and exchange of experience in cattle breeding and farming techniques.

In the field of environmental protection the sides agreed to co-operate within the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea (Tehran Convention).

The commission also decided to establish a joint energy committee and to cooperate in the spheres of education, tourism, sports, culture, finance, insurance, law and statistics. Due to this, commission members are currently working on expanding the legal framework of cooperation. Among those being prepared for signing are a series of intergovernmental agreements on automobile transportation, plant quarantine and protection, air transport and a Memorandum in the field of statistics, labour and social protection.

The 13th meeting of the commission is scheduled for 2013 in Tehran, which, among other agreements, was reflected in the Protocol signed by the two Ministers.