Course to a new cooperation level with South Korea
June 20. Kazpravda
By Yulia MAGER, Doszhan NURGALIEV
Nursultan Nazarbayev met with President of the Republic of Korea Park Keun Hye, who arrived in Kazakhstan on a state visit.
The Presidents discussed the main directions in trade-economic, investment and technological cooperation, development of strategic partnership. Views were exchanged on topical issues of the international agenda.
Nazarbayev called the visit of Park Keun Hye a significant event for Kazakhstan that from the early independence days has been studying the reforms in South Korea and wants to develop political and economic relations with this country.
In turn, the Korean President said the two nations have ample potential for economic cooperation. She saw firsthand, she said, the rapidly developing Astana, which is evidence of a high level of economic growth, and she also expressed the hope that the long-term development strategy Kazakhstan-2050 will be successfully implemented.
At the meeting of the delegations, Nazarbayev noted that the first state visit of Park Keun Hye turns over a new leaf in the history of South Korean-Kazakh strategic partnership. On behalf of Kazakhstanis he expressed condolences over the crash of the ferry Sevol.
– Our interaction in energy, auto industry, engineering, construction, mining, healthcare, education and science is developing dynamically, and the total trade volume reached $ 1.5 billion. I am confident that after this visit, we will be able to raise our economic and political cooperation onto a new level. Kazakhstan supports the policy of the Republic of Korea on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
In turn Park Keun Hye expressed appreciation for the invitation to visit Kazakhstan and satisfaction with the discussed international issues, including the North Korean nuclear problem.
She stressed that Kazakhstan is a key partner to her country and thanked for the support of major international initiatives, including in the establishment of trust and peace on the Korean peninsula.
The talks resulted in the Presidents’ Joint Statement; in their presence a number of documents were signed. These are the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the Republic of Korea on mutual abolition of visa requirements; Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of State legislation of the Republic of Korea; Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Science, Information and Communication Technologies and the future planning of the Republic of Korea; Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources of Kazakhstan and the Forestry Service of the Republic of Korea on cooperation in forestry and reforestation in Kazakhstan, and also a contract for the purchase of services to maintain readiness of electric power generating plants.
After the ceremony, the two leaders made statements. Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed confidence that the visit of the President of the Republic of Korea will strengthen the dynamics of bilateral cooperation, successfully developing in different directions. – Cooperation in non-oil sector with South Korean partners is continuously growing, – the Kazakh President said, citing figures: more than 300 JVs, including the assembly of autos, SUVs and passenger and cargo vehicles, major projects are progressing, such as the construction of Balkhash thermal power plant, chemical complex in Atyrau region, Zhambil field development. The share of Korean business in Kazakhstan’s accelerated industrial-innovative development program is encouraged. The parties confirmed their interest in cooperation on the formula “technology in exchange for resources.”
Nursultan Nazarbayev also said that as part of the Kazakh-Korean business forum, important agreements will be signed. Another joint Business Forum is slated in September. A new law On Investments was signed, which provides a good business opportunity. Under it the companies are exempt from corporate and income taxes for 10 years, the property tax – for 8 years, and they are compensated 30% of capital costs.
Involving the workforce will be without quotas and permits; visa-free regime was established with several countries, including the Republic of Korea. All this, as the President said, creates a convenient business climate for both states.
Cooperation between the two countries at the international level is successful too. Seoul takes active part in the CICA, and the country’s business is invited to share
in EXPO 2017. Kazakhstan supports South Korea’s Eurasian initiative, which coincides with the idea of the Eurasian Economic Union. We support the proposal of the Republic of Korea on the non-nuclear status of North Korea, also the unification of the peninsula in a peaceful manner.
The South Korean President said the two countries have complementary economic structures. Mutual last-year sales reached a record high index. Kazakhstan is Central Asia’s largest investment market to Korea. The country is engaged in three major projects in Kazakhstan: the construction of Balkhash thermal power plant, chemical complex in Atyrau region, Zhambil field development and welcomes the intended promotion of new projects such as the expansion of production at Tengiz.
Park Keun Hye said it was resolved to develop a new cooperation format, under which resources and technology will be combined to use synergies. It was agreed to contribute to the diversification of Kazakhstan economy, expanding cooperation in areas such as infrastructure construction, science and technology, forestry and ecology. The parties also concurred on the need to intensify humanitarian and cultural exchanges and bring down investment barriers in the initial stage.
Korea supports Kazakhstan’s efforts to join the WTO, which will hopefully increase trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.
The same day, President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Park Keun Hye attended the opening ceremony of the Kazakh-Korean business forum in Astana.
Addressing the forum, the Kazakh President said that last-year trade turnover between the two countries went 9.5% up to reach $ 1.5 billion. Over the past 20 years the gross inflow of South Korean direct investment in our country made $ 5 billion; 15 joint projects totaling $ 22 billion are under implementation, another 8 projects are under elaboration. We are interacting in auto, food and chemical industries, energy and metallurgy. The potential for economic cooperation has to be fully unlocked, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev. The establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union with Russia and Belarus expands business opportunities.
Last October Park Keun Hye offered the conception of “Eurasian Initiative”, which aims to unite Eurasia and develop it as a center of world prosperity. Kazakhstan is situated in the heart of Eurasia and close to the BRICS countries, including Russia, India and China, and is therefore a link between Europe and Asia, she noted.
She hopes that pooling efforts, Kazakhstan and South Korea will play a key role in the opening of the era of peaceful and prosperous Eurasia. Business should rally to achieve this goal.
She also flashed back to history, when Kazakhs had helped a lot to the exiled ethnic Koreans, although they were in a very difficult situation themselves. And now the Koreans are well integrated into Kazakhstan’s society. Joining this openness of Kazakhs and economic development experience of Korea could bring a thriving future to our countries, – the South Korean President believes.