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Belgium 'important' European partner to #Kazakhstan, Brussels meeting hears




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Belgium is one of  Europe’s “important” political and economic partners for Kazakhstan, a meeting in Brussels was told.

It was told that relations between the two countries are developing in a spirit of "mutual trust and respect”.

This was one of the messages to emerge from the round table, 'Kazakhstan-Belgium: Prospects for Trade, Economic and Investment Co-operation', on Wednesday (9 October).

Economically, there have been “positive changes” between the two sides and,currently, there are about 74 companies with Belgian interests and capital in Kazakhstan.

The volume of Belgian investments in the Kazakh economy amounts to some $7.9 billion while foreign trade turnover of Kazakhstan with Belgium in 2018 soared by no less than 58% compared to 2017 and amounted to $455 million.

The event in Brussels was organized by the embassy of Kazakhstan in Belgium together with AWEX and chaired by the Kazak Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yermek  Kosherbayev. It was attended by Walloon and Flemish enterprises, the ambassador of Kazakhstan in Belgium Aigul Kuspan, diplomats, representatives of the Wallonia Export-Investment Agency (AWEX) and Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT), as well as J. Lebon, the Honorary Consul of Kazakhstan in Flanders.

The meeting heard that there is “great mutual interest” in co-operation between the two sides.


Representatives from three Belgian companies John Cockrill, Carmeuse, Van Hool and VITO were also present at the meeting

 John Cockerill (formerly the CMI Group) produces solutions in the energy sector in Kazakhstan, such as a construction project in the Kyzylorda region which features a solar power plant using molten salt technology. A mechanical engineering group headquartered in Seraing, Belgium, it produces machinery for steel plants, industrial heat recovery equipment.

Carmeuse, meanwhile, is playing a key role in reducing air pollution in Kazakhstan and is implementing a project to build a plant for the production of high-quality technological lime in the Karaganda region.

Orfit supplies Kazakhstan with  equipment used in the treatment of cancer. Based on innovative technologies, the company develops and produces the most precise and reliable thermoplastic materials for medical devices that improve patient treatment around the world.

Belgian companies have approximately 20 representative offices in the coungtry, the majority of which are exporting goods to Kazakhstan.

But  more Belgian companies, it was argued, should start investing in Kazakhstan as it will open a huge consumer market of roughly three billion people.

The Carmeuse Group, notable among the Belgian companies investing in Kazakhstan, plans to invest approximately $55 million to build a lime factory at the Saryopan mine in the Karaganda Region.

Founded in 1860, the company is among world’s leading lime producers. The company has 90 factories in the United States, Canada, Italy, France, Slovakia, Hungary, Africa and Asia.Its annual turnover is €1.5 billion and the factory is expected to produce 300,000 tons of lime a year. Some 105 jobs will be created at the factory and the investments will generate $55 million.

This, the meeting heard, illustrates the potential of Kazakhstan in terms of business.

Kazakhstan is ranked 28th in the latest World Bank Group’s Doing Business Report and, the meeting was told, Belgian companies should know that Kazakhstan’s geographic location offers a far larger consumer market if one considers the markets of neighbouring countries such as China and India and the Eurasian Economic Union.

China is a neighbouring country to Kazakhstan and has a huge consumer market – 1.3 or 1.5 billion people - and due to the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union where there are no customs between Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, setting up a factory in Kazakhstan means a business has a market of not 18 million people but 180 million.

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