In total, about 120 business representatives of the two countries participated in the business forum. The main objective of the event is to assist in finding new business partners, informing representatives of Estonian business about the investment climate in Kazakhstan, benefits and preferences which the country is ready to provide to investors.
The further areas of investment cooperation between Kazakhstan and Estonia were discussed at the forum. Participants discussed prospects for the development, implementation and exchange of experience between countries. In particular, the most important areas of investment cooperation were considered, where it is necessary to intensify efforts in terms of the transition to digitalization and the introduction of an automated system in various sectors of the economy.
Opening the business forum, the Prime Minister Sagintayev noted that the Republic of Estonia is one of the important trade, economic and investment partners of Kazakhstan in Northern Europe. Kazakhstan is interested in expanding trade, economic and investment relations with Estonia. In particular, in the transit-transport sphere, in the field of environmental and energy-saving technologies, as well as in the IT sphere. In order to exchange experience in IT technology, a Kazakhstani delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Askar Zhumagaliyev was sent to Estonia. The purpose of the training program is to become familiar with the Estonian experience and practice in the field of key elements of e-government.
October 8-12, 43 Kazakh specialists visited Tallinn to familiarize themselves with the Estonian state policy in the area of using information and communication technologies in public administration and providing electronic services to the public.
Today Kazakhstan is a state with a predictable and favorable investment climate that implements trade policy in accordance with the norms of international law. Optimized tax burden, preferences are worked out. Simplified procedures for planning projects in the field of public-private partnerships. Improved migration and labor laws, simplified procedure for attracting foreign labor. There are eleven special economic zones and 22 industrial zones with different sectoral orientation and different preferences in Kazakhstan.
Sagintayev said that according to the recently published Doing Business-2019 rating, Kazakhstan entered the top 30 for the first time. The country took the 28th place, having risen eight positions in a year. This is the biggest success in the years of independence since the introduction of this rating. At the same time, work is underway to further improve the position.
Today Kazakhstan has the best investment climate in Central Asia and more than 70% of the investments of the countries of Central Asia fall on Kazakhstan. Over the past 10 years, the country has attracted about $250 billion in foreign direct investment. The government of Kazakhstan welcomes investments in various sectors of our economy, especially in the development of the manufacturing industry and non-primary exports. At the same time, Kazakhstan aims to introduce elements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: 3D printing, online trading, mobile banking, digital services, automation, robotization, artificial intelligence and the exchange of big data.
Tomorrow the International Center for IT Startups Astana Hub starts its work in Kazakhstan, where all the opportunities and privileges for business promotion are created. The visa and labor regime for the foreign participants of Astana Hub has been simplified by law. Currently, work is underway to simplify taxation for residents of the technopark. Anyone who is willing to work on the startup hub area can already be registered. The appropriate conditions for comfortable living will be provided. It is planned that Astana Hub will become a regional innovation center for promoting technology initiatives.
The Prime Minister also told the forum participants about the work of the Astana International Financial Center and invited Estonian companies to work together, including under the second wave of the privatization program.
In turn, Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas said that during the bilateral meeting various aspects of cooperation between the two countries were considered. These are issues of digitalization, education, agriculture.
“It should be noted how important our cooperation is. I hope that we can use this potential in the future. Kazakhstan is a huge country with a population of 18 million people, rich in oil fields and important trading links. Estonia is a small country with a population of 1.3 million people. A large number of forests and we have a strong Hi-Tech sector. However, despite these differences, we have many common interests. We have the opportunity to expand our bilateral economic relations in many areas: IT, transport, logistics, agriculture and environmental technology, as well as waste management. I’m sure this list will only expand over time,” said the Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia.
Ratas also noted the promising job opportunities of Astana Hub.
“I see a strong political will of the government of Kazakhstan, together with the private sector, to work more differentially with the modern economic model. In this direction, constant support is required. The Estonian economy also goes through a process of transformation from a labor-intensive industry to a capital-intensive one. With rapid technological change and ever-expanding globalization, we must adapt to competitiveness in the global market. Estonian companies are very interested in cooperation with Kazakhstan,” Ratas added.
During the event, representatives of JSC Kazakh Invest National Company presented investment projects in Kazakhstan. In turn, the investment agency Enterprise Estonia presented the projects of the Estonian side. Following the results of the business forum, the signing of bilateral documents took place.
The Republic of Estonia is one of the most important trade, economic and investment partners of Kazakhstan in Northern Europe. Foreign trade turnover between the countries for 8 months of 2018 amounted to $21.8 million. Today in Kazakhstan there are about 70 companies with Estonian capital participation.
In order to increase mutual trade turnover, Kazakhstan and Estonia intend to intensify bilateral trade and economic cooperation, as well as in transit and transport industries, in the field of environmental and energy-saving technologies, water saving, IT technologies, where Estonia holds high positions within the European Union. At this stage, Kazakhstan exports to Estonia: petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excluding crude oil), copper, refined and copper alloys, untreated aluminum, LED lamps, iron or steel products, as well as food products, such as: flaxseeds, almonds, fresh melons and others.