Today in Astana, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev and President of the Republic of Serbia Alexander Vucic held a bilateral meeting, after which they participated in the Kazakhstan-Serbia Business Forum.

The meeting, the interlocutors discussed issues of strengthening and expanding bilateral trade and economic cooperation between countries in the fields of energy, agriculture, logistics, transport and communications, defense industry, construction, pharmaceuticals, culture, education and science. Promising areas of direct contacts between the business structures of Kazakhstan and Serbia, the realization of the export potential of the two countries, as well as the interaction of the financial systems of the two countries, including within the framework of the Astana International Financial Center, were also considered.

In the second half of the day, the Kazakh-Serbian Business Forum was held in Astana with the participation of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan B. Sagintayev and the President of the Republic of Serbia A. Vucic.

The event was attended by about 180 representatives of the business communities of Kazakhstan and Serbia in such industries as agriculture, chemistry, tourism, medicine, transport, telecommunication. Among Serbian enterprises, it is necessary to mention such large companies as Algotech (telecommunications), Chemical Agrosava (chemistry), Akomed (production of medical equipment), Adanko (textiles), MeatING Belgrade (agriculture), etc.

Addressing the forum participants, Bakytzhan Sagintayev noted that possessing significant economic potential, Serbia is a reliable partner of Kazakhstan in Europe. Last year, the trade between Kazakhstan and Serbia grew by 59.1% compared with the previous year ($ 41.9 million). At the same time, the potential of the two countries allows raising the level of bilateral business and trade relations to a higher level. This will be facilitated by the Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation.

The Government of Kazakhstan is systematically working to improve investment climate and create conditions for attracting investment. Over the past four years, 52 reforms have been carried out in Kazakhstan in the tax and customs spheres, in providing state support to entrepreneurship.

Tax burden was optimized, preferences are worked out. Procedures for planning projects in the field of public-private partnerships were simplified; a single database of successfully implemented PPP projects is available for all interested investors. Migration and labor laws were improved; the procedure for attracting foreign labor was simplified.

For investors, services are provided on the one-stop-shop principle, regional service offices are opened in all regions of the country. To facilitate an open dialogue, there is the Foreign Investors Council under the President, the Council for Improvement of the Investment Climate under the Prime Minister, investment and business ombudsman institutions have been introduced. Thanks to the measures taken, Kazakhstan takes the 36th position in the World Bank's “Ease of Doing Business” ranking, first place with regards to the investment climate in Central Asia, and more than 70% of investments in Central Asian countries fall to Kazakhstan. Over the past 10 years, the country has attracted about $ 250 billion of foreign direct investment in various sectors of the economy of Kazakhstan.

The forum participants were also presented with prospects for investing in such sectors of the Kazakh economy as transport and logistics, manufacturing, agriculture, digitalization and innovative development, as well as participation in the privatization program.

The President of Serbia, Alexander Vucic, in his speech stressed that Kazakhstan is an exceptionally friendly country for the Republic of Serbia.

Several promising areas for bilateral cooperation were noted - this is mechanical engineering, in particular, automotive, agriculture, as well as the military-technical sphere. Kazakhstan and Serbia can also cooperate in the field of modern technologies. A special area is investment and the creation of joint ventures.

In addition, A. Vucic noted the intention of Serbia to continue investing in Kazakhstan. In addition, he invited all Kazakhstani investors to his country. In return, the Serbian side is ready to provide the best conditions for investors - these are state subsidies, subsidies for the number of jobs created and other benefits.

The forum was also addressed by the Chairman of the Board of the Chamber of International Commerce of the Republic of Kazakhstan A. Yerenov, the Director of the International Economic Relations Division of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry E. Jovanovic, the Deputy Chairman of the Board of NC Kazakh Invest M. Bіrіmzhan, the Chairman of the Board of Export Insurance Company KazakhExport JSC R. Iskakov, Co-Chairman of the Kazakh-Serbian Business Council, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Silk Road Institute, Member of the Presidium of the Union of Transport Workers of Kazakhstan Kazlogistics Y. Iskaliyev and others.

On the margins of the forum, a number of agreements have been concluded. The Agreement between the Governments of Kazakhstan and Serbia on Cooperation in the Fight Against Crime, the Memorandum of Understanding and Exchange of Experience in the Field of Construction between the Ministry of Investments and Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Serbia, the Memorandum of Understanding in Air Communication between the Ministry of Investments and Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Serbia, the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Youth Policy  between the Ministry of Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Serbia.

Published: 09 October 2018



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