Malaysian investment in Kazakhstan has totalled over US$1 billion since the start of the diplomatic relationship between the two countries in 1992 and the latter looks forward to collaborating on more projects in 2022.
Kazakhstan ambassador to Malaysia Bulat Sugurbayev said the majority of the investments by Malaysian companies was in the oil and gas industry.
There is a number of Malaysian oil and gas companies in the west part of Kazakhstan such as Aktau, Atyrau and Uralsk.
“We are glad that there are many Malaysian oil and gas companies operating in Kazakhstan and there are many more that are interested to venture into our country. Malaysian companies are providing services to big oil and gas players in Kazakhstan and some companies are involved in the production of oil themselves.”
Local non-oil and gas players are also making their mark in Kazakhstan including JSC Central Asia Cement, which has Malaysian shareholder.
The company produces cement in Kazakhstan’s Karaganda Region since the 1990s and supplied the cement for the construction of the capital city, Nur-Sultan about two decades ago.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan seeks to continue strengthening its bilateral trade with Malaysia as before pandemic total trade in 2019 amounted US$650 million.
The total amount of trade between the countries amounted to US$75.6 million (RM319 million) in the first nine months of 2021.
The main exports from Kazakhstan to Malaysia are steel, crude oil, ferrous metal products, measuring instruments and pipe fittings while the main export products from Malaysia to Kazakhstan include palm oil, rubber products, clothing, furniture, electrical goods and electronics as well as instruments and spare parts in the oilfield service industry.
“Moving forward, Kazakhstan is interested in exporting agricultural products including high-quality organic meat, fruits and vegetables, and wheat to Malaysia, especially considering that Kazakhstan is one of the top wheat producers in the world,” Sugurbayev said.
He added that there was also a wide range of business opportunities between the two countries in the manufacturing sector.
The Halal industry is another segment of opportunity that Kazakhstan can work with Malaysia as Halal is one of the dynamically growing sectors in the country.
Currently, the recognition of Kazakhstan Halal standards by Malaysian authorities is being implemented in Kazakhstan.
There is also a great potential for cooperation in science, technology and education between the two countries.
In 1996, Kazakhstan and Malaysia signed a scientific and technical cooperation agreement, and in 2012 concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of higher education.
“Today, more than 10 different MoUs and exchange of experience agreements have been reached between Kazakh and Malaysian higher education institutions. I believe that when our countries return to normal after the pandemic, we will continue to develop this area further,” the ambassador said.
He also said that other sectors that present a huge opportunity to develop between the countries included Islamic finance, agro-industrial, the military-industrial complex, construction and tourism.
Currently, the Joint Trade and Economic Committee with the support of the embassy of Kazakhstan in Malaysia is intensifying the import and export activities between the two countries.
In 1996, an investment promotion and protection agreement and in 2006 an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital were signed between the two governments, which give a legal base for trade and investment cooperation.
“As the pandemic situation improves, our economies require a new boost for the post-Covid recovery. Despite the pandemic, our business societies continue to work in hybrid mode to establish new partnerships,” Sugurbayev said. – NST ONLINE