NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Kazakhstan and Canada discussed investment cooperation opportunities in natural resources and energy at the virtual Working Group meeting of the IV Kazakhstan Canada Business Council on November 16. During the event, the participants learnt about the latest updates on these industries' investment potential and specific investment projects for joint implementation. More than 100 participants attended the event, including high-level government representatives, national companies and members of the business community, Kazakh Invest national investment promotion company reported.
During the event, Norman Storm, the Board Chair of the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association (CERBA) and the Co-Chair of the Working Group meeting said: "Covid-19 has had a major effect on all of the world's economies, and Kazakhstan and Canada are no exception. However, difficult economic times can also present opportunities to acquire projects that would otherwise not be available. I think it is safe to say that the governments of both Kazakhstan and Canada are open for business and ready to welcome new investments in the energy and natural resource sectors of their economies".
Zhandos Temirgali, the Advisor to the Chairman on Strategic Investment Projects at Kazakh Invest and the Co-Chair of the Working Group meeting from the Kazakhstan side, underlined that relations between Kazakhstan and Canada have always been warm and productive. He further stated that “Today, Kazakhstan is Canada's largest trade and investment partner in Central Asia. Over the past 15 years, direct foreign investments from Canada to Kazakhstan have exceeded $5 billion. In addition, Kazakhstan is one of the priority markets for Canadian companies, with a wide range of opportunities, as per Canada's Global Markets Action Plan. We consider such sectors as Oil & Gas and Mining, together with Agriculture and Mechanical Engineering as the core pillars of our cooperation that have enormous potential. In addition, renewable energy has enormous potential, as well as the creation of high-tech industries in Kazakhstan based on rich reserves of strategic materials. In all of the above industries, we are ready to provide comprehensive support to Canadian investors.”
Ruslan Baimishev, the Vice Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan, mentioned that Kazakhstan, acting on recommendations from the OECD, proactively introduced a new Code on the Subsoil and Subsoil Use in 2018. This new legislation embodies best international practices to ensure transparent and understandable methods of State regulation of the industry. The Vice Minister reiterated that "We are ready to jointly start implementing high-tech projects using the experience and technologies of Canada."
The Canadian side was represented by industry keynote speakers: Dmitry Barsukov, the General Director of Cameco Kazakhstan and Andrew Judson, the Lead Director of Condor Petroleum Inc. Keynote speakers representing the government included: Emily Kneteman, the Regional Director of Invest Canada, representing the Government of Canada; Mario Krpan from the Ministry of Energy and Clean Technology of the Government of Alberta, among others.
As a result of the Working Group meeting, the parties expressed their intention to intensify their efforts to broaden and deepen cooperation on bilateral trade and investment in the energy and natural resource sectors. Given the significance of these sectors to the economies of both countries, definite synergies can be created through the sharing of technology, expertise and experiences to further develop the sector and promote trade and investment between Kazakhstan and Canada.
The creation of the Kazakhstan Canada Business Council (KCBC) has been one of the key measures to promote bilateral business ties between Canada and Kazakhstan. Given that the uranium industry occupies the leading position in bilateral cooperation, the former CEO of Kazatomprom, Askar Zhumagaliyev, and the President and CEO of Cameco Corporation, Tim Gitzel, agreed to become co-chairs of the Business Council (representing the Kazakh side and the Canadian side, respectively). Mr. Gitzel is also a member of the Foreign Investors Council, which operates under the auspices of the President of Kazakhstan. The main goal of the KCBC is to promote cooperation, trade and investment between the companies and organizations of Kazakhstan and Canada. The KCBC is comprised of Canadian and Kazakh businesses that meet once every 2 years (alternating between Kazakhstan and Canada) to address issues pertinent to cooperation and bilateral trade between the two countries. The KCBC is jointly organized by the Canada Eurasia Russian Business Association (CERBA) and the Kazakhstan International Chamber of Commerce and is supported by the governments of both countries and provides an important platform to promote a stronger and more multi-faceted relationship between Canada and Kazakhstan.