EU will enhance trade relations with post-Soviet countries

European institutions expressed willingness to enhance trade relations with post-Soviet countries by signing a number of agreements.

On December 12, the European Parliament approved Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Kazakhstan by an overwhelming majority of MEPs, with 511 votes in favour, 115 against and 28 abstentions. The newly-signed Agreement will replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that has been in force since 1999. A deal is expected to provide more trade and business opportunities between the parts. EU commissioner Vera Jourova pointed out that the EU has become Kazakhstan’s first trade partner, representing one-third part of its external trade. Kazakhstan’s exports to the EU are almost fully in the gas and oil sectors, alongside other chemicals, minerals and food products. In turn, Kazakhstan imports transport and machinery equipment and pharmaceuticals, alongside medical devices, plastics and furniture from the EU. The EU also acts as the largest foreign investor in Kazakhstan, representing over 50% of Foreign Direct Investment in Kazakhstan.

On December 12, Kazakh-Czech Business Forum took place in Prague. Yerlan Khairov, the Vice Minister for Investments and Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Jiří Koliba, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of Czech Republic attended the event. The key issues of cooperation development in such areas as industry, investments, insurance and trade were discussed within Forum. Jiří Koliba emphasized on positive tendencies of the bilateral cooperation – Kazakhstan’s trade with Czech Republic for 9 months of this year increased by 121% and amounted to about $500 million. As a result of the Forum, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Foreign Trade Chamber of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the CIS countries on the establishment of the Business Council between Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic. A memorandum will allow to continue cooperation on the implementation of existing commercial arrangements, as well as to establish new contacts for the development of promising areas. Ayan Yerenov, Chairman of the Board of the Foreign Trade Chamber of the Republic of Kazakhstan assured that Kazakh part is ready to assist in searching partners to Czech entrepreneurs and investors.

Increase in volume of the bilateral trade between the EU and Ukraine is also notable. “Our economic cooperation gains momentum. There is 29% increase in bilateral trade volume”, stressed Volodymyr Groysman, the Prime Minister of Ukraine at the recent briefing on the results of the meeting with Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. In turn, Federica Mogherini noted that a close cooperation leads to the particular results for citizens, economy.

Bilateral trade relations between the EU and some of the post-Soviet states have shown an improvement due to enhancing their cooperation.