Nusrat Ghani, UK Minister for Industry and Economic Security, flew to Kazakhstan on November 19 for a three-day visit, on the occasion of the 10th round of talks within the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Investment.
This marks the fifth high-level visit by British officials to Kazakhstan this year, after Foreign Secretary James Cleverley in March and Minister of Europe Leo Docherty in June and October, and Minister of Armed Forces James Heappey in September, signaling a growing attention on part of the British government towards Kazakhstan.
At a press conference in Almaty on November 20, Minister Ghani spoke about the key sectors of cooperation between the two countries, while emphasizing that fostering investment and trade needs a stable policy climate.
“Fundamentally, investors want transparency and accountability, as well as certainty and security. That means making sure that policies don’t change overnight, so that they know which frameworks they are working in. With Kazakhstan, we want to focus on infrastructure, agriculture, critical minerals, and education. Kazakhstan is one of my top priorities, when it comes to my industry brief,” the minister said.
Kazakhstan could be crucial in helping British companies diversify their supply chains, said Ghani.
“I would like British companies to be able to diversify their supply chain, which means sourcing minerals close to the producing countries and I would like Kazakhstan to be part of this change, especially for the automotive, aerospace, and chemical sectors in particular. Manufacturers in the UK need a cleaner and greener supply chain, for both their customers and their shareholders.”
Ghani explained that sovereign guarantees can now help British companies invest in Kazakhstan in a wider range of sectors.
“We have a mechanism called UK Export Finance, which [facilitates] government-backed loans. This framework can now be explored for critical minerals projects. For Kazakhstan the cap has been set at £4 billion ($5 billion).”
According to data from the British Embassy, in the previous four quarters, until 30 September 2023, trade turnover reached £2.6 billion ($3.2 billion). The UK mission expects this year’s final number to be close, or even higher than in 2022.
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