Luxembourg official mission to Kazakhstan
From June 9th to 14th, the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, in close collaboration with the Ministry of the Economy and the Embassy of Luxembourg in Moscow, organized an accompanied visit to the Expo 2017 Astana followed by an economic mission to Almaty. The accompanied visit of the Expo 2017 Astana, focusing on “Future Energy”, was led by H.E. Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister, and H.E. Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy. The commercial delegation, led by the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, was composed of 21 companies with a total of 33 company representatives from a variety of sectors.
The country hosting the 2017 Specialized Expo in its capital Astana is the strongest economy in Central Asia. Strategically situated between Russia, China, the European Union and the Middle East, the Republic of Kazakhstan – with a land area equal to Western Europe yet one of the lowest population densities in the world – is striving to become the go-to hub for intercontinental exchange along the New Silk Road.
According to the STATEC, Luxembourg’s exports to Kazakhstan have almost doubled since 2012. Kazakhstan is an industrial country, with mining, oil and gas operations currently as its main prospects for economic development. However, the government has been attempting to change the priority towards a more varied range of industries. By having made important efforts to minimize bureaucratic obstacles and affording international investors equal rights and obligations as Kazakh nationals, the government of Kazakhstan conceived a business environment in which foreign financiers can invest themselves into all sectors.
The aim of this mission was to explore possible future economic cooperation and business opportunities in a variety of sectors, development and innovation. The Official Mission to Astana and Almaty granted a great opportunity for Luxembourg companies to establish new business links and get in touch with local key partners they can turn to in order to get assistance and advice regarding access to this region.
Kazakhstan shows important potential for business due to open-minded investors considering new solutions in a friendly business environment, a Visa-free travel regime (now including Luxembourg), sophisticated local service providers and fast developing infrastructure. A Non Double Taxation Agreement and an Investment Protection Treaty ensure that Luxembourgish companies can safely explore the Kazakh market.
The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy participated in the official opening ceremony of the Expo 2017 Astana on June 9th. On June 10th, the very first day of the Expo, both visited the Luxembourg Pavilion with their official delegation and the commercial delegation of the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The Luxembourg Pavilion at the Expo 2017 Astana is a public private partnership between the Ministry of the Economy and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce. Diamond partner ERG and gold partners Arendt & Medernach, Jan De Nul, RCB Bank and SES are the sponsors of the pavilion which presents to the visitors of the specialized expo four important initiatives of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg closely linked to the expo theme “Future Energy”:
- The SpaceResources area showcases the latest economic diversification effort by the Luxembourg Government related to the peaceful exploration and sustainable utilization of space resources for the benefit of humankind.
- The Third Industrial Revolution “island” informs about the long term economic model in which three technologies converge: new information and communication technologies, new sources of energy, and new modes of transportation.
- The Smart Energy Nation Lab provides a concrete example of how Luxembourg fits as the ideal life-size laboratory to test innovative and smart ideas on a national scale and which products and services have already been developed to support the long term goals of the national energy strategy.
- The last pillar presents Luxembourg’s financial centre as the primary centre for listing green bonds and the leading European domicile for impact funds. The Luxembourg for Finance area shows how the Luxembourg financial centre can assist companies, government agencies, and investors around the world to meet their own sustainable development targets.
On the same day, both official and commercial delegations assisted at the opening ceremony of the Honorary Consulate of Luxembourg in Astana, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr Kairat Abdrakhmanov, and Luxembourg’s Honorary Consul in Astana, Mr Aldiyar Kaztayev. The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Honorary Consulate was followed by a reception hosted by Mr Kaztayev himself, before the delegation retuned to the Expo grounds for a visit of the neighboring pavilions.
On June 11th, Luxembourg was the first country to host its National Day on the Expo site. A festive ceremony, broadcasted on the local national television, featured a musical performance by Luxembourgish cellist André Mergenthaler as well as speeches given by H.E. Etienne Schneider and H.E. Beibut Atamkulov, Minister of Defense and the Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Thereafter, the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg led the economic mission to Almaty, the country’s economic capital.
Upon arrival in Almaty and over the course of two days, a number of business-to-business meetings were organized for the commercial delegation by several local partners such as the Wallonia Export Investment Agency (AWEX) or the German Chamber of Commerce Network (AHK). The official Mission to Kazakhstan was concluded with the organization of a Luxembourg-Kazakhstan Economic Forum held on June 13th in the Ritz-Carlton, in collaboration with the Municipality of Almaty, which invited local companies with a shared ambition to establish close ties with Luxembourg based businesses. Mr Jeannot Erpelding, Director of International Affairs at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce kicked off the Luxembourgish contribution to the Forum, followed by a presentation of Luxembourg as a financial Center given by Mr. Sascha Bremer (Luxembourg for Finance). Max Kremer, Partner at Arendt & Medernach, concluded the Luxembourgish intervention by giving a testimonial of the law firm’s long lasting relation with partners in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The economy of Kazakhstan, and specifically the opportunities to be grasped in the City of Almaty, were presented by Mr Arsen Nassyrkhanov (Director of Investor Services at the Municipality of Almaty), Mrs Julia Kussidi (Executive Director of The European Business Association of Kazakhstan), Mr Askar Namazbayev (Deputy Director for Kazakhstan, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and Mr Kairat Serikbayev, a partner at a local law firm by the name of Sayat Zholshy & Partners.
All along this five day mission, various visits and meetings with key local partners confirmed the great potential for exchange and common business development between companies from Luxembourg and Kazakhstan. Hence, the basis for future collaboration has been established and will be pursued.
Travel Pro American Express (Group Sales Lentz) took the opportunity to meet with management of their new client in Astana, in order to confirm and officially finalise their agreement to offer their services in relation to the client’s business travel requirements for the entire company all over the world following a public tender. This was a great opportunity for a Luxembourgish company to show, present and export their knowledge, know-how, expertise and strength to optimize and consolidate companies throughout different countries.