15 Feb 2019 15:26

Kazakh FM, European ambassadors discuss implementation of enhanced partnership agreement

ASTANA. Feb 15 (Interfax) - Steps to tap the full potential of cooperation between Kazakhstan, the European Union, and its member states require particular attention from the Kazakh Foreign Ministry and European diplomatic missions accredited in Kazakhstan, Kazakh Foreign Minister Beibut Atamkulov said at a meeting with EU ambassadors in Astana.

"The foreign minister said in his speech that Kazakhstan values existing friendly relations with the European Union, accompanied by an active and regular political dialogue. At the same time, the sides noted the results of productive cooperation in 2018, including [Kazakh] President Nursultan Nazarbayev's participation in the 12th summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting [ASEAM] in Brussels in October 2018, during which meetings with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the leaders of EU countries took place," the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said.

At their meeting, the Kazakh foreign minister and the EU ambassadors also discussed a wide range of issues concerning cooperation between Kazakhstan and Europe, including possibilities for deepening their political, trade and economic partnership, it said.

"Key attention was given to the effective implementation of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement [EPCA] between Kazakhstan and the European Union, which is expected to come into full force in the near future. The participants in the meeting agreed that the EPCA will open up new horizons for interaction in 29 spheres of cooperation envisaged by the agreement," it said.

A key issue on the meeting's agenda was the need to further broaden and diversify trade and economic ties as the Kazakh Foreign Ministry tackles the task of raising investment and promoting Kazakh exports. The EU has been Kazakhstan's major trade and investment partner for many years. Kazakh-EU trade stood at $34.4 billion in January-November 2018, accounting for 49% of the overall volume of Kazakhstan's foreign trade, while the volume of foreign direct investment in the Kazakh economy reached $12.3 billion in the first half of 2018. Twenty-four major investment projects worth around $3 billion are currently being implemented with European companies' participation in Kazakhstan.