Industry Minister opens Bahrain-Kazakhstan Business Forum

Astana, (BNA)Bahrain-Kazakhstan business forum which was held in Astana on the sidelines of the historic visit of his Majesty the King to Kazakhstan. A series of agreements and MoUs were signed between the government and the private agencies in both countries in presence of Minister of Municipalities and Urban Planning Kingdom of Bahrain Dr. Jumaa

Astana, (BNA)Bahrain-Kazakhstan business forum which was held in Astana on the sidelines of the historic visit of his Majesty the King to Kazakhstan. A series of agreements and MoUs were signed between the government and the private agencies in both countries in presence of Minister of Municipalities and Urban Planning Kingdom of Bahrain Dr. Jumaa Ahmed Al-Kaabi, Minister of Transport and Acting Chief Executive of Bahrain Economic Development Board Mr. Kamal Ahmed Mohammed.

During the ceremony, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr. Hassan Fakhro delivered a speech stating that this historic first official visit of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa is to enhance the Kingdom of Bahrain’s global political, economic, trade and social relations.

Dr. Fakhro noted that in these continuously changing times, with changing trade patterns, and a changing geopolitical landscape, which has altered considerably since the global financial crisis, and is reflected in economic power shifting from West to East, so we need to look to developing new friendships and trading partners; and as East looks West, so are countries in the West looking East. Bahrain also has a growing focus on Asia and Eurasia.

He noted that Kazakhstan, recognized as being the ninth largest country in the world, has the potential for becoming one of central Asia’s richest countries, not only because of its huge mineral and oil resources, but also because of its welcoming and liberalized economy, which encourages foreign investment, as indeed does Bahrain.

Whilst our two countries may be vastly different in terms of size, there are also many similarities. Our economies are both founded on natural resources, we are both highly focused on diversification, we both highly value an educated work force as a being an economic driver, and we share many common stances on the international platform.

Dr. Fakhro believe this visit will help our two countries to grow closer and reach a better understanding of our commonalities and the potential for cooperation across the political and economic spectrum. At present there is very little in the way of trade and investment between Bahrain and Kazakhstan, but I propose that we can change that situation for our mutual benefit, by bringing together representatives of our industries and businesses, to enable them to find a common ground for future cooperation, be this in trade, investment or in joint-venture arrangements. To-day is a good start, and for sure His Majesty’s visit, as they always do, will accelerate interest from Bahrain businesses in looking towards Kazakhstan, for new opportunities.

The Minister affirmed negotiation of Memoranda of Understanding on various areas of mutual interest as well as Cooperation Agreements would also be an extremely valuable means of creating discussion venues and setting the direction in which we would like the private sector to proceed, however real business is done by the private sector businesses.

Dr. Fakhro pointed out that that there are many opportunities for joint investment both in Bahrain and in Kazakhstan. Food production, especially wheat and meat, and other staple items could prove to be an important sector for cooperation, as indeed would be Islamic banking and finance, education and training, transport and telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, tourism and exhibitions, and numerous other sectors and sub-sectors, indeed our aluminum industries and work complement each other.

Bahrain is very keen on enhancing food security, and with your vast land mass and agricultural potential there are surely numerous joint-venture opportunities, possibly even in terms of aqua-culture. In terms of services there are opportunities for cooperation across the board, and I would single out Banking and Financial Services and the availability of the Bahrain Bankers Training Centre as an area of particular interest, and oil and small industries.

There are synergistic benefits to closer cooperation between our two countries, not the least resulting from Bahrain’s position at the centre of the US$1 trillion GCC regional market, and which is estimated to achieve US$2 trillion by 2020, or more than US$4 trillion if we take into account the greater Middle East and North African, MENA region; and Kazakhstan being at the fulcrum of the Eurasia market.

And in particular towards the direction of the proposals from Kazakhstani side in this regard, including the formation of a joint committee for cooperation, and cooperation between the sovereign wealth fund holding companies in both countries, and the possibility of reaching an agreement on promotion and protection of investment and an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation on income and prevention of tax evasion in addition to cooperation in the area of finance and banking, and between chambers of commerce and industry in both countries, in addition to the establishment of a joint businessmen council.

Dr. Fakhro confirmed that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, we are working closely with the private sector firms, various interest groups, other Government Ministries and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to ensure that our private sector is made aware of the trade and investment opportunities that exist. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce, is also continuously seeking to improve the country’s business friendly infrastructure, and I would say that our high place world ranking in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom and its position as country most preferred by outsiders, are good measures of how far we have come in that direction.

Broad initiatives which will enhance the commercial and industrial climate; improve productivity, long term profitability, and diversity of the private sector firms; enhance the viability of SMEs; enhance consumers rights, and encourage inward investment in particular in the targeted clusters which promote the creation of a knowledge economy.

Bahrain is literally at the centre of the Gulf, and offers the most business friendly and relaxed lifestyle for foreign investors wishing to target the huge potential markets of the greater Middle East region. We have a state of the art industrial asset in the form of the Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP), at Salman Industrial City, which is the perfect home for foreign manufacturers or logistics service providers, and for those companies wishing to have a distribution facility for servicing other parts of the region.

A Free Trade Agreement with the US will give your investment in Bahrain a big boost.

Also participated in the opening session Mr. Issekeshev Asset Orentayevich, Minister of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan, Mr. Khalid Almoayed, Chairman of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Mr. Sabr Esimbekov, President of Chamber of and Industry of Kazakhstan.

The MoUs signed during the forum include as follow:

Memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Kingdom of Bahrain on Co-operation in the development of aluminum downstream industries. The memorandum was signed by Industry and Commerce Minister Dr. Hassan Fakhro and Deputy Prime-Minster – Minister of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Kazakhstan Issekeshev Asset Orentayevich.
Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate between Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company and National Holding “Baiterek” of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The memorandum was signed by CEO of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company Kingdom of Bahrain Mr. Mahmood Alkooheji and Deputy Chairman of the Board Alina Aldambergen.
Memorandum between “BNA” Bahrain News Agency and the “Kazinform” International News Agency. The memorandum was signed by General Director of “BNA” Bahrain news Agency Mohannad Alnoaimi and Director of “Kazinform” International Information Agency Republic of Kazakhstan Dauren Diyarov.
Agreement ?n the establishment of a joint business council (JBC) between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of republic of Kazakhstan and Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The agreement was signed by Chairman of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce& Industry Khalid Abdulrahman Almoayed and Chairman of National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Republic of Kazakhstan Yessimbekov Sabr Saylaubekovich.
Memorandum of understanding between Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry and National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan. The memorandum was signed by Chairman of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry Mr. Khalid Abdulrahman Almoayed and President of The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Republic of Kazakhstan Yessimbekov Sabr.
A Memorandum of cooperation on implementation of investment projects in the field of livestock between JSC “NEIA “Kaznex Invest” and the Bahraini company “Bahrain Livestock Company”. The memorandum was signed by The Chairman Of The Corporation Bahrain Livestock – Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed Zainal Ali and Deputy Chairman of JSC “NEIA “Kaznex Invest Karmanov Kairat Zharylkasymovich.
A Memorandum of cooperation on implementation of investment projects in the sphere of food industry between JSC “NEIA “Kaznex Invest” and the Bahraini company “Bahrain Flour Mills Company”. The memorandum was signed by The Chairman of The Bahrain Flour Mills Company Mr. Abdullateef Khalid Alaujan.

The forum has two panels of discussion. The first one is about Opportunities for Kazakhstani Businesses in Bahrain and moderated by Mr. Abdulkarim Alsayed-Chairman & CEO of Petrodar International and participated by:

Dr Esam Fakhro – Chairman of Abdullah Yousef Fakhro & Sons Group
Mr. Nader Almoayyed, Undersecretary of Commerce Affairs- Ministry of Industry and Commerce
Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al-Khalifa- Executive Director for Banking Operations- Central Bank of Bahrain
Mr..Mahmood Alkooheji – Chief Executive Officer- Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company
Mr. Adel Almoayyed, Chairman of Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO)

The second panel of discussion is about Business Opportunities and Government Projects in Kazakhstan and moderated by Ayan Yerenov, Vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and participated by:

Berkinbaev Nurken, Managing Director of National Export and Investment Agency KAZNEX INVEST
Agibaev Almas, Chairman of the Board of Kazyna Capital Management JSC
Deputy Chairman of KazAgro Holding JSC
Suvorov Alexander, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Astana EXPO-2017 National Company
Oshakbaev Rahim Sakenovich, Vice chairman of the Board of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan

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