Vladimir Putin and President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev took part in the 10th Russia-Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum, with Industrial Cooperation as the anniversary event’s theme.
Following the forum, the two presidents oversaw the signing of a package of agreements on transporting oil via Kazakhstan, expanding and intensifying industrial cooperation, collaboration on developing the Imashevskoye gas condensate field, and preventing and fighting wildfires in the two countries’ border regions.
Mr Putin and Mr Nazarbayev signed the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan on Good-Neighbourliness and Alliance in the 21st Century.
The two presidents later made press statements.
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PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Mr President, colleagues, friends,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the Russia-Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. Since the heads of our neighbouring regions first met in Omsk in 2003, the interregional forum has proven its usefulness and clear effectiveness. Today, 76 of Russia’s 93 regions have economic ties with all 14 regions in Kazakhstan, and also with the cities of Astana and Almaty. More than 200 interregional agreements on cooperation in various areas have been signed.
Kazakhstan has become a leading trade partner for many Russian regions, including Tatarstan, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk and Orenburg regions. Each of these regions has trade now exceeding $1 billion with partners in Kazakhstan. This gives a huge boost to developing our bilateral economic ties. Our bilateral trade has quadrupled over the last 10 years, from $5.8 billion in 2003 to $22.4 billion in 2012.
Our investment cooperation is growing at a good pace too. Russian investments in Kazakhstan came to around $1 billion over the first half of 2013, which represents a 40 percent increase compared to the same period in 2012. To build on and multiply this good dynamic, we now need to develop our interregional and border-region cooperation in such a way as to prepare for a more advanced integration model, given that we plan to launch the Eurasian Economic Union at the start of 2015.
In this context, the theme chosen for this year’s forum – Developing Industrial Cooperation – makes perfect sense. Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus together comprise a common market with free movement of capital, goods, services and labour. It is only logical that we should develop technological and industrial alliances. We discussed this earlier at the meeting in narrow format. We need to establish optimal production chains that will integrate dozens if not hundreds of businesses. The Customs Union and Common Economic Area have already made it possible to remove many obstacles to mutually advantageous cooperation, especially in the machine-building sector.
I remind you that at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council’s meeting in Minsk on October 24, together with my colleagues, the presidents of Kazakhstan and Belarus, we agreed to remove the remaining exceptions and limitations within the Customs Union and Common Economic Space frameworks. We hope that these measures will help the three countries to continue on the path of stable economic growth.
Our GDP increased by 1.7 percent over the first half of 2013. Trade within the Customs Union and Common Economic Area grew by 2 percent over the January-August period. Certainly, carrying out this kind of integration by opening our markets to each other is always a complicated process, especially at the initial stages. Trade imbalances and losses do arise. This is only natural and it happens with all integration projects of this kind, but the long-term, systemic benefits of integration outweigh these problems. Business, for example, has already seen the benefits of simplified customs procedures and competition between our countries. Now, each of our countries is trying to create the most attractive conditions for work and for developing business.
The number of Russian-Kazakhstani joint ventures continues to grow steadily and now comes to more than 5,000. These companies work in practically all key sectors, from raw materials extraction and processing to information technology. More than 40 exchange visits by business delegations and 55 specialised exhibitions took place over the first nine months of this year alone.
One of the most promising projects we have is organising the assembly and servicing of Russian helicopters in Kazakhstan and supplying them to Almaty’s city rescue services. We are setting up joint production of medicines at the Karaganda Pharmaceuticals Plant. Uralvagonzavod plans to build a new facility in Kazakhstan to manufacture engines for rolling stock. Work continues on the projects that we discussed at the last interregional forum in Pavlodar. Those projects include building motor vehicle assembly plants and service centres with the involvement of Russian automotive industry companies: AvtoVAZ, Sollers, Kamaz and GAZ.
I am sure that this deep-reaching industrial cooperation in different sectors will make our economic relations more robust and help us to balance out the impact of fluctuations on world markets.
Colleagues, it is tradition at the Forum to sign a package of intergovernmental and interregional agreements. It is symbolic that at this tenth anniversary meeting we have prepared for signing a new basic agreement – the Agreement on Good-Neighbourliness and Alliance in the 21st Century. It lays the foundations for continued development of our strategic partnership over the coming decades.
Thank you for your attention.