Kazakhstan’s enticing deal for Canadian investors

| June 30, 2016 | 0 Comments
Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Canada Konstantin Zhigalov visits Buhler Industries Inc. during his official visit to Winnipeg. (Photo: Embassy of Kazakhstan)

Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Canada Konstantin Zhigalov visits Buhler Industries Inc. during his official visit to Winnipeg. (Photo: Embassy of Kazakhstan)

When it comes to trade, Kazakhstan is among Canada’s priority countries, according to Global Affairs Canada’s global markets action plan. In 2012-2013, two-way trade between Kazakhstan and Canada was almost $6 billion. During that period, exports from Kazakhstan to Canada were $5.7 billion, while the value of imports from Canada to Kazakhstan reached $267 million. According to Global Affairs Canada, the volume of Canadian investments in Kazakhstan amounted to nearly $16 billion between 1994 and 2013.
The uranium industry occupies the leading position in our bilateral co-operation and the signing of the intergovernmental agreement on co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy has become an important dimension of the
Kazakhstan-Canada relationship. It opened a new chapter for our co-operation in the uranium sector. Cameco Corporation is a key partner in this area.
Our business relations also include exchanges in mining, oil, agriculture and education. A significant portion of Kazakhstan’s imports from Canada is machinery. Kazakhstan, meanwhile, is among Canada’s biggest export markets for agriculture and grain-handling equipment, after the U.S., Australia and Brazil. Kazakhstan is also an important market for Canadian livestock exports, because of our similar climates.
The ongoing problems in the global economy (tumbling prices for natural resources and the volatility in the currency markets) has had an effect on trade, economic and investment co-operation between Kazakhstan and Canada. To overcome these negative trends, we are diversifying our activities in order to
expand business ties. Last year, our embassy published a guide for Canadians on doing business in Kazakhstan. It was presented at economic forums and roundtables in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and in Kazakhstan’s Almaty, among others.
Canadian companies working in Kazakhstan, including Cameco, Bombardier, Uranium One, Condor Petroleum, SAIT Polytechnics, CanAgro Exports, Geotech  and BLG, sponsored the publication of the guide. In addition,  an electronic version is available on our embassy’s website.
The guide explains the measures the government has taken to improve the investment and trade climates in our country. For example, companies that sign contracts worth at least $20 million in manufacturing, innovation, SMEs, tourism and services with Kazakhstan’s ministry of industry and new technologies are exempt from paying corporate income tax and land tax for 10 years. They are also exempt from property taxes for eight years. Additionally, the government will give foreign investors up to 30 percent of their capital costs. Investors also have the opportunity to hire foreign workers for the entire duration of the project, and one year after its commissioning, without any quotas and permits. Foreign investors also receive guarantees of stable legislation related to increases in all tax and payment rates, except the value-added tax and excise duties. A one-stop shop has been established for investors to interact with government agencies, and there is an investment ombudsman who will work to ensure the legal protection of investors’ rights and interests.
The recently created Kazakhstan-Canadian Business Council is another measure to promote bilateral business ties. Askar Zhumagaliyev, CEO of Kazatomprom, and Tim Gitzel, CEO of Cameco, are co-chairmen and the organization has received support from various Kazakh and Canadian companies.
Another measure to strengthen bilateral business ties will be further discussions on the draft agreement on promotion and mutual protection of investments, given Kazakhstan’s recent accession to the World Trade Organization.
Kazakhstan and Canada maintain an active dialogue at the political and business level. Our representatives attend major economic conferences and trade shows, such as the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) in Toronto and the Astana Economic Forum (AEF). In the past few years, Canada’s minister of agriculture, minister of state for finance and minister of state for foreign affairs have attended AEF.
Despite the present global economic challenges, Kazakhstan remains Canada’s top trading partner in Central Asia. Prospective areas of bilateral business partnership include engineering, renewable energy, aerospace, civil aviation and railway transportation, finance and banking, vocational education, new technologies and methods of geological exploration, including the manufacturing of mining equipment in Kazakhstan. There are promising signs that we can advance our relations on these and other areas in the near future.

Konstantin Zhigalov is ambassador of Kazakhstan. Email ottawa@mfa.kz or call (613) 695-8055 to reach him.

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Reach Mr. Zhigalov at kazakhembassy@ gmail.com or 613-695-8055.

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