Kazakhstan is poised to expand exports to Italy in 110 commodity items valued over $900 million, according to Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov. The statement was made during a Sept. 6 meeting with Antonio Tajani, the Italian Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who was on an official visit to Kazakhstan, reported the Prime Minister’s press service.
Smailov indicated that Italy is one of Kazakhstan’s top three global trade partners and leads among European Union (EU) countries.
Citing a 55% increase in bilateral trade, which reached approximately $15 billion last year, the Prime Minister emphasized the significant potential for further growth in trade between the two countries.
Smailov also noted that Italy ranks consistently among the top five EU investors in the Kazakh economy, having invested $7.3 billion over the past 17 years. Last year, investment from Italy nearly doubled, increasing 2.5 times to reach around $300 million.
Smailov underscored the presence of about 270 companies with Italian capital registered in Kazakhstan. He also highlighted new joint ventures that enhance investment cooperation and expressed an interest in expanding these efforts.
Diplomatic and business relations
The Prime Minister praised the opening of the new office of the Italian Embassy in Astana, noting that this would undoubtedly facilitate business contacts and have a positive impact on mutual trade.
Tajani conveyed Italy’s readiness to strengthen relations with Kazakhstan, particularly in trade, energy, and industry sectors, welcoming the country to open joint ventures and launch new companies in Italy.
“We would also like to establish a business council to enhance cooperation between our enterprises,” he added.
Tajani also expressed Italy’s interest in increasing its commercial presence in Kazakhstan in the clothing industry. He noted the importance of opening a new Italian Institute of Culture in Almaty to foster increased student exchange between the two countries.
Murat Nurtleu, Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with Tajani on Sept. 5 to discuss broadening the scope of interaction with Italy. Nurtleu described Italy as a “time-tested, reliable strategic partner,” highlighting the progress achieved over 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Tajani expressed Italy’s support for Kazakhstan’s initiatives outlined in President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s state-of-the-nation address on economic, political, and socio-economic reforms aimed at building a robust economy and a prosperous society.
Tajani also identified new areas of promising cooperation, agreeing with Nurtleu on the importance of sustaining a regular political dialogue and strengthening trade, economic, and investment ties, especially given the potential for engagement with high-tech Italian companies.
Reiterating trade cooperation
Both parties acknowledged a 54% increase in mutual trade, which totaled $14.9 billion last year. They also recognized the successful implementation of significant investment projects in Kazakhstan that involve Italian companies, including a wind farm in the Aktobe Region and tractor and combine production in the Kostanai Region.
Transport connection and facilitation of visa regime
Nurtleu and Tajani mentioned last year’s launch of direct flights between Almaty and Milan twice a week, which is contributing to developing trade and economic ties between the two countries.
Nurtleu expressed hope that Italy would support efforts to liberalize the visa regime for Kazakh citizens within the EU.
Following the meeting, both parties reaffirmed their commitment to enhance the Kazakh-Italian strategic partnership based on a relevant agreement signed in 2009.
They signed a joint statement that focuses on manufacturing, digitalization, and water management, as well as cultural and humanitarian exchanges, including academic collaboration.