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ASTANA, February 15 (Itar-Tass) — A French business delegation arrives in Astana on Wednesday to discuss cooperation prospects.
It includes over 100 representatives of France’s 50 leading companies such as Alstom, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), Total, Areva, Electricite de France, Gaz de France, Schneider Electric, Thales and Sanofi Aventis.
The Kazakh-French business council will hold its meeting “to discuss the state of and prospects for trade and economic cooperation and the implementation of large joint projects,” the Central Asian Republic’s Foreign Ministry told Itar-Tass.
Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Altai Abibullayev said this event “will become an important stage in the preparation for the next meeting of the intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation scheduled for March.”
At present, industrial and innovative development is a priority of Kazakh-French economic partnership. Nuclear power and the use of rare earth metals remain the most important areas.
France’s Minister of Industry, Energy, and the Digital Economy, Eric Besson, who visited Kazakhstan last November, said the two countries had good prospects for interaction and implementation of joint projects not only in industry, but also in defence, transport and telecommunications.
He also said Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund that unifies the republic’s largest state-run companies seeks stronger cooperation with the French Investment Fund. As a result “a wide range of small and medium innovative enterprises can emerge in Kazakhstan.”
Thierry Mariani, France’s Transport Minister, is expected to join the delegation on February 17 to discuss the launch of direct flights between Astana and Paris.
This visit demonstrates the fulfillment of agreements reached during Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s visit to France last September and the protocol on establishing a direct air link between the two countries’ capitals signed last June, Abibullayev said.
Kazakhstan’s authorities “pay special attention” to the development of trade and economic cooperation with France, the spokesman said.