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EU member states’ ambassadors pay visit to Shymkent and Turkestan

10 March 2020 12:00

NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM On 2-5 March 2020 the delegation of the European Union member states' Ambassadors led by EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Mr Sven-Olov Carlsson travelled to Shymkent and Turkestan with a cluster visit.

During the visit to Shymkent, the EU Ambassadors held a bilateral meeting with Mayor of Shymkent city Mr Murat Aitenov. The sides discussed the further development of EU-Kazakhstan relations and indicated the promising fields for cooperation, the official website of the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan reads.

EU Ambassador Sven-Olov Carlsson: «We welcome the positive developments in Kazakhstan reflected in economic growth, strong reserves and improving infrastructure. All this can open new opportunities for EU companies who can bring state of the art products, services, technologies and know-how. The EU is the biggest investor and trade partner of Kazakhstan, and we have close business ties with Kazakhstan and wish to develop them further «.

The European diplomats were also briefed on the investment and business opportunities in the region, and visited the leading and largest enterprises of the industrial and free economic zones, including Shymkent pharmaceutical plant «Khimparm», «Shymkentcement» enterprise, and a brand new transformer plant «AsiaTrafo».

The delegation also met with the civil society representative and youth. During the visit to the Auezov South Kazakhstan State University, the sides discussed the issues of academic mobility, cooperation with the European universities and participation in the European education programmes. The Ambassadors also met with the University students in the format of Ambassadors Café to elaborate on the development of the EU-Kazakhstan relations, the EU regional approach to Central Asia as well as to share their success stories and the leadership secrets.

In Turkestan, the meetings with Mayor of Turkestan region Umirzak Shukeyev and Mayor of the city Rashid Ayupov were held. EUMS Ambassadors noted the high dynamics of the city and region development in the fields of infrastructure, investments, transport and tourism.

At the Yassawi International Kazakh-Turkish University the diplomats held an interactive discussion with the students. The Ambassadors also visited the Youth Resource Centre of Turkestan region, which supports active youth in their development, employment and volunteering service.

On 1 March 2020, the European Union-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), ratified by all the EU Member States. Kazakhstan became the first country in Central Asia to sign this unique agreement. EPCA provides a reinforced and updated legal framework for further strengthening trade and economic relations, and development of bilateral relations in 29 key policy areas, including political dialogue, human rights, energy, transport, environment and climate change, employment and social affairs, culture, education and research.

Background information

The EU and Kazakhstan established diplomatic relations on 2 February 1993. Over 350 projects amounting to EUR 180 million have been funded by the EU, notably focusing on: strengthening the capacity of regional and local government, justice sector reform and human rights. In 2018, European countries and Kazakhstan traded more than EUR 26 billion worth of goods, while in 1999 the total trade amounted to USD 2.2 billion. With over 75% of oil exports going to the EU (representing approx. 6% of total EU imports), Kazakhstan is already the third largest non-member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries supplier for the EU. From the EU, Kazakhstan imports machinery, transport equipment and pharmaceuticals, alongside chemical products, plastics, medical devices and furniture.