Co-Chairs of the Kazakh-Greek Intergovernmental Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation — Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Roman Vassilenko and Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic Georgios Katrougkalos — discussed bilateral political, trade and economic cooperation in Astana on February 5. The Greek delegation also included representatives of the business community, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry reported.
The talks have confirmed there is an understanding between Astana and Athens in all spheres of bilateral cooperation. The sides identified promising areas for further joint work and considered projects for deepening economic and investment cooperation.
Special attention was paid to facilitating the European Union visa regime for the citizens of Kazakhstan. The sides agreed that simplifying visa procedures corresponds to their mutual interests of enhancing business, educational, cultural and tourist exchanges between the EU and Kazakhstan.
During the visit, Vice Minister for Investments and Development of Kazakhstan Arystan Kabikenov and Georgios Katrougkalos took part in a Kazakh-Greek Business Forum that brought together some 100 entrepreneurs from the two countries. During the event, the Chamber of Commerce of Kazakhstan and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises SEV signed a Cooperation Agreement.
In addition, Georgios Katrougkalos held meetings with Vice Minister of Agriculture Gulmira Isayeva and Governor of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) Kairat Kelimbetov.
In 2017, trade between Kazakhstan and Greece increased by 10.6% compared to 2016, up to $980.6 million, with exports from Kazakhstan to Greece at $964 million and imports from Greece to Kazakhstan at $16.6 million. In 2016, that amount was $886 million (exports – $872.8 million, imports – $13.2 million).
Kazakhstan’s exports to Greece include hydrocarbons, grain, salt, soil, stones, gypsum, cement, and copper.
Products from the chemical and metallurgical industries, plastics, fur and knitwear, footwear, machinery and equipment, electronic materials, and bicycles are imported from Greece to Kazakhstan.
Presently, about 10,000 ethnic Greeks live in Kazakhstan. At the same time, Greece is home for about 60,000 ethnic Greeks who are former citizens of Kazakhstan.