Kazakhstan – strategic partner for Slovakia


Rizvana Sadykova

Kazakhstan - strategic partner for SlovakiaYesterday Kazakh-Slovak business forum was successfully held in Astana. The Kazakh President  Nursultan Nazarbayev informed that according to the Kazakhstan’s program of industrial and innovative development it was planned to complete 144 projects and start new 47 ones with the budget of USD 26 billion. Besides, he told about large-scale infrastructural projects of Kazakhstan, particularly the highway “Western China – Western Kazakhstan”. He also announced that oil supply to Slovakia increased up twofold this year. As Kazakh First Vice Minister of Industry and New Technologies Albert Rau announced that at present gross inflow of direct investments from Slovakia in the Kazakh economic made up USD 33.5 mln.  We bring to our readers a brief version of the speech of Mr. Lubomir Jahnatek, Slovak Minister of Economics addressed to participants of the business forum.

We have almost finished the first major level of formation of mutually beneficial economic cooperation. I keep in mind, first of all, creation of contractual legal framework which is being a start for real foreign policy in the sphere of goods and services. In the economic field we signed main legal documents with the Kazakh side at the governmental level. They are the Treaty on Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation, Treaty on Avoiding Dual Taxation and Agreement on Mutual Encouragement and Protection of Investments.

It is necessary to use this attention of economically powerful countries of the world and Europe and turn on expansion and strengthening of economic cooperation with the CIS states where Kazakhstan is among the leaders of Central Asia. The Slovak Government is interested in formation of correct and economically well-balanced relations with the Kazakh Government. The 5th session of the Intergovernmental Commission for Trade-Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation held in Bratislava in September, 2009 approves it.

Some believe that slow development of cooperation on the economic field is a result of geographical distance between our countries. I am confident that it is not an obstacle. Today finances and investments know no bounds, and infrastructure is directed for Europe and Central Asia connection. In my opinion, a cause of caution in activity is ignorance of the business climate of the partner country. Hence I as the Minister of Economy and member of the Slovak Government appreciate approach of President of Slovakia Ivan Gasparovic. He initiated and included in the program of his state visit to Kazakhstan both attendance in the entrepreneurial forum and gave opportunity so a numerical delegation of the Slovak business circles took part in it. It is a decisive sign for both parties for the entrepreneurs’ effective using of potential of our states for increase in the trade turnover and for more deep cooperation in the investments sphere.  

Slovakia has a stable investment climate, provides stimulus to investors which are transparent and have economic justification. The Slovak Government strives for simplification of conditions for entrepreneurs. We strive for creation of favorable conditions for foreign investors through the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO).

Despite the global crisis, the Slovak economy remains stable owing to political stability, tax reform and efforts of the Government, competent departments and establishments to improve the entrepreneurial climate. The Slovak Government under Prime Minister Robert Fico adopted Law on investment incentive, Law on energy security of the Slovak Republic. The Slovak membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) is also a factor which influences stability. In this connection we will keep watch over the process and striving of Kazakhstan for accession to the WTO.

Kazakhstan’s membership in the WTO can positively influence on economic relations between our countries. It can contribute for rapprochement of entrepreneurial conditions and business climate. Cooperation between the WTO member states opens wide opportunities of exchange of goods and services. And it positively influences on economic development and improves economic results.

In spite of positive assessment of the situation, the economic crisis is not overcome. The Slovak Government considers the country’s energy security as a priority and its policy with investors from the energy field is connected with it. The Slovak Cabinet fully takes into account economic potential of Kazakhstan. Slovakia as the EU member is identified with the issues of energy security of the EU. It is connected with diversification of resources and routes of energy sources. Kazakhstan in this direction is considered as a strategic partner, first of all, in the field of energy hydrocarbons for Europe.

I am confident that the Slovak Government as well as the Kazakh one rise to the challenge to strengthen mutual support and coordination of projects planning which need support at the governmental level. It touches upon activity in the investment field in order to expand effective economic cooperation between our countries.