Ukraine Seeks To Bolster Ties With Kazakhstan In Industrial Sector
Despite transportation hurdles and decreasing trade, Kazakhstan and Ukraine are interested in advancing cooperation in energy, metallurgy and machinery manufacturing.
Bilateral trade has decreased over the last three years, especially in 2016, when Russia banned the transit of Ukrainian goods through its territory. It doesn’t help that Kazakhstan, with Russia and Belarus, is part of the Eurasian Economic Union, a trade union initiated by Russia as a response to the European Union.
The Ukrainian government has shown a lack of interest in Kazakhstan, according to Mykola Ilchenko, a political expert and consultant to Ukrainian parliament group of Ukraine-Kazakhstan relations. There has not been a Ukrainian ambassador to Kazakhstan in three years.
But recently the Ukrainian government made a step towards better industrial cooperation with Kazakhstan.
One of the most promising areas for cooperation is energy.
In September, Ukraine’s Energy Minister Ihor Nasalyk signed a memorandum with Kazakh National Atomic Company Kazatomprom. The Kazakh company seeks to become the supplier of fuel for Ukrainian nuclear power plants.
The agreement is in the early stages, though. The sides met in Kyiv and agreed to send representatives that will analyze the economic efficiency of the project.
Other industries where Ukraine and Kazakhstan are likely to cooperate are aerospace engineering, metallurgy, machinery building and pharmaceuticals, according to Hennadiy Chyzhykov, the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine.
“Kazakhstan has Baikonur spaceport, and Ukraine can build missile carriers. Kazakhstan has developed agriculture and Ukraine can supply farming machinery,” said Chyzhykov.
Head of the Verkhovna Rada’s group for Ukraine-Kazakhstan relations, lawmaker Ruslan Demchak is looking forward to the meeting with the Kazakh parliamentarian delegation to Ukraine. Its visit, planned for late autumn, was delayed.
“We have all the conditions for developing trade relations between Ukraine and Kazakhstan and the political will of both states,” Demchak ysaid.
To promote the cooperation and connect the Kazakh and Ukrainian businesses, the two countries started holding annual business forums since 2015. The second forum took place in October in Kyiv. The next Ukrainian-Kazakh forum will take place in summer in Astana during the Expo-2017 international exposition.
Last month the Ukrainian government approved the participation in the upcoming Expo-2017 exposition in the Kazakh capital of Astana from June 10 to Sept. 10. The coordination committee is led by Ukraine’s Minister of Regional Development Hennady Zubko. The organization part is delegated to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine.
Ukraine had to skip Expo-2015 in Milan, Italy, due to political and economical calamities, but next year it plans to showcase itself in the best light.
“The theme of the Expo-2017 is future energy. This is a great opportunity for Ukraine to demonstrate its achievements, especially in renewable energy sources, build cooperation, and present Ukraine from a positive perspective,” said Chyzhykov of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine.