Kazakhstan and Georgia reach agreements on mutual trade growth, investment cooperation and transport infrastructure development

ASTANA – Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov of Kazakhstan and Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili at a meeting June 23 in Tbilisi, where Smailov arrived for an official visit, emphasized boosting mutual growth, promoting investment cooperation and developing transport infrastructure, the reported Press Service of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan.

Alikhan Smailov and Irakli Garibashvili. Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

Smailov pointed out that the countries had already achieved excellent results in the trade and economic sectors, which would allow them to surpass the $1 billion mark soon.

While trade turnover hit a record $600 million last year, the countries are still seeing mutual trade surge in 2023, with volume increasing fivefold to $167 million in four months.

Regarding investment cooperation, Smailov noted that over the past 17 years, Georgian entrepreneurs have invested about $400 million in Kazakhstan, with over $100 million recorded in 2022. Kazakhstan invested over $530 million in Georgia’s economy.

The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan invited Georgian partners to work in the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC), which legally guarantees the protection of foreign investments in Kazakhstan.

Smailov emphasized the key role of the transit and transport sphere in cooperation, since major transcontinental transport corridors pass through the territories of both countries as the shortest routes from Europe to China and Southeast Asia.

At a press conference following the talks, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan paid special attention to the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) and recalled the adopted 2022-2027 joint roadmap to eliminate bottlenecks and develop the corridor.

“We are interested in increasing the volume of freight transport via the TITR up to 10 million tons in the medium term,” said Smailov.

The agenda of the meeting included the establishment of a logistics operator on the TITR and the digitization of freight transport on the line.

The parties signed a trilateral agreement on the basic principles of establishment and operation of the joint venture between Kazakhstan Temir Zholy and Georgian Railway. This document was signed with Azerbaijan Railways the day before to deal with tariff policy and cargo handling and facilitate transportation processes.

“We are working together to remove bottlenecks in the TITR and make it more attractive to Central Asia, China and other Asian countries in general,” Garibashvili said.

According to Garibashvili, Georgia is investing heavily in the modernization of the railways and is working on other important projects, in particular the construction of a new port.

Smailov revealed plans to expand cooperation with Georgia in developing routes in the Caspian-Black Sea basin and underlined the importance of cargo transportation using the capacities of Kazakh seaports.

The parties examined prospects for strengthening cooperation in agriculture and tourism, as well as for introducing new technological products.

Kazakh companies Canadian Chicken and AgroTechManagement signed commercial agreements with Georgia’s Industrial Group, which will see investments worth around US$50 million in the construction of a plant for agricultural and special machinery.

Funds will also be used to create an agricultural cluster that will include a bird and animal feed factory, a poultry farm and a fish feed factory in Kazakhstan.

In addition, the Kazakh Energy Ministry and the Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further expand cooperation at the Batumi Oil Terminal.