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EU is Kazakhstan's first trading partner and represents more than half of foreign direct investment in Kazakhstan. With the EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the EU and Kazakhstan have developed a framework for further strengthening trade and economic relations. The EU supports Kazakhstan's ambitious reform and modernisation processes, including the improvement of the business climate.
During the first meeting the parties discussed issues of common interest to EU and Kazakh businesses, including cooperation on reducing technical barriers to trade, notably in the agro-food sector. Other issues discussed related to tax legislation in particular prospects for decriminalization of tax offences.
In his opening speech EU Ambassador Sven-Olov Carlsson highlighted the importance of the High-Level Platform for regular exchange of views between the European Union, its businesses and the Kazakh Government.
The Platform of dialogue at high level will complement the technical dialogue between the EU and Kazakhstan within EPCA, in particular the Cooperation Committee in Trade Configuration. The next meeting is preliminary scheduled for autumn this year.
The EU is Kazakhstan’s first trade partner representing over one third of its external trade and over half of total foreign direct investment in Kazakhstan. With over 75% of oil exports going to the EU (representing approx. 6% of total EU imports), Kazakhstan is already the third largest non-member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries supplier for the EU. From the EU, Kazakhstan imports machinery, transport equipment and pharmaceuticals, alongside chemical products, plastics, medical devices and furniture. The EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, signed in Nur-Sultan on 21 December 2015 and provisionally application since 1 May 2016, aims at creating a better regulatory environment for businesses in areas such as trade in services, establishment and operation of companies, capital movements, raw materials and energy, intellectual property rights. It is a tool of regulatory convergence between Kazakhstan and the EU, with some “WTO plus” provisions, notably on public procurement.