15/01 20:32

UAE a key trading partner of Kyrgyzstan, says minister

 Abu Dhabi: The Kyrgyz Republic is looking for ways to revive trade and business with the UAE, and proposing to expand trade relations beyond existing range of products and investment in power generation, mining, transport, infrastructure, agriculture and halal industry, a top official has said.

Erlan Abdyldaev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan, told Gulf News the UAE is one of main trading partners not only in the Gulf but in the whole region. “The trade relations with UAE has seen the times of dynamic growth while UAE was one of our top five trading partners. We welcome Emirati investors, government and private companies of the UAE to visit the Kyrgyz Republic and explore business opportunities,” the visiting minister said.

Below are the excerpts from an interview with Abdyldaev:

How is the bilateral trade between the UAE and Kyrgyz Republic? Is the Kyrgyz Republic expecting an increase in trade between the two countries in the coming years?

Bilateral cooperation with Arab countries of the Gulf has become one of the priorities of Kyrgyzstan’s foreign policy. President of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atambaev made his first ever official visits to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in 2014. Successful and fruitful talks have culminated in the signing of 19 bilateral agreements, eight of them with the UAE. These are fundamental treaties on economic cooperation, protection of investments, avoidance of double taxation etc. I am confident that practical implementation of these agreements opens new opportunities and benefits for the Kyrgyz Republic and the UAE.

The UAE is one of our main trading partners not only in the Gulf but in the whole region. The trade relations with the UAE have seen dynamic growth while the emirates was one of our top five trading partners. Kyrgyzstan traditionally exports to the UAE items made of precious metals and gold. There are solid foundations for exporting ecologically clean food products and beverages. Emiratis could get from us all natural fruits and vegetables, dry fruits and pure mountain honey, bottled crystal clear water straight from our glaciers and springs, halal meat and livestock.

During meetings with Emirati colleagues, we will also propose a joint study to expand our trade relations beyond existing range of products.

Emirates as it is well known has been an excellent hub for the regional markets. Your country has developed convenient transportation and logistics networks, effectively functioning free economic zones and sound financial system. Along with its strategic position at the crossroads between the East and West, North and South, the UAE is the only country in the Gulf having commercial aviation links with Kyrgyzstan. As per the volume of airline passenger traffic with Kyrgyzstan, Dubai is in the fourth place after Russia, Turkey and China. The passenger load between Kyrgyzstan and the UAE is steadily increasing. The next step could be promoting cargo flight to service business activity. It is also important to note that Emiratis don’t need to obtain visa for travel to Kyrgyzstan.

What has been the result of UAE Energy Minister Suhail Mohammad Faraj Mazroui’s visit to Kyrgyzstan last year? Is the UAE looking to invest in the energy sector of Kyrgyzstan and what are the main areas of cooperation identified between the two countries in economy and trade?

The visit of Suhail Al Mazroui to Kyrgyzstan in April was aimed at identifying possible future areas of cooperation between our countries. Al Mazroui was accompanied by a group of Emirati businessmen. The Emirati delegation was received by both the President and the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The joint Economic Forum and signing of bilateral agreements between Chambers of Commerce of two countries were the immediate results of the visit.

As for energy, we welcome investments in power generation. We are ready to start projects in the field of hydropower, some of them have been given to the UAE for consideration. It is known that Kyrgyzstan is distinguished among the countries of the region with abundant water resources. Thus, implementation of hydropower projects could considerably contribute to sustainable development of not only Kyrgyzstan but of Central Asia and South Asia as well.

Obviously, the cooperation cannot be limited to power generation only. The good perspective projects could be explored in the field of mining, transport infrastructure and logistics, agriculture and halal industry, as well as tourism. The business environment in Kyrgyzstan has been favourable to foreign investments. Today entrepreneurs from China, South Korea, Japan, Turkey, the EU, India and Iran are doing business in our country. Investments in Kyrgyzstan are protected by law; the rights of foreign investors are equal with those of citizens, so the foreigners don’t feel any extra competition. Foreign investors are free to repatriate their capital. The taxes are comparatively low — income tax is only 10 per cent and VAT 12 per cent. We welcome Emirati investors, government owned and private companies of the UAE to visit Kyrgyz Republic and explore business opportunities.

As the next step, holding of the first meeting of Intergovernmental Committee between Kyrgyz Republic and the UAE could help both sides to push forward joint bilateral economic agenda.

How has the Kyrgyz Republic benefited by joining in Eurasian Economic Union?

Eurasian Economic Union has been established to coordinate economic policies of member-states and to facilitate a free movement of goods, services, capital and labour. Accession of Kyrgyz Republic to the Union was preceded by major joint work on the way of integration. Kyrgyzstan became a full-fledged member of the Union in August 2015. The goal set was to accelerate economic development of the country. Obviously, reaching of this goal as well as the achievement of all objectives of the Union is a difficult and lengthy process. Currently, there is a lot of work being done to adapt our national economy to the new environment. Today there are certain results. For instance, uniform requirements for the products which set by technical regulations of the Union came into force. Kyrgyzstan enterprises producing milk, meat and fish products are included in the Unified Registry of the Union. These companies started exporting food products to the markets of members-states of the Union in accordance with new regulations. And it is just beginning. The entry of Kyrgyzstan into the Union also provided favourable conditions for free movements and employment of migrant labour from Kyrgyzstan in Russia and Kazakhstan. Procedures for employment have been simplified and social conditions for them are being improved. Despite certain difficulties, Kyrgyzstan is actively developing the supervision and control system, building modern phytosanitary and veterinary laboratories, border checkpoints enhanced with modern equipment. These measures would certainly facilitate expanding exports to the countries of Eurasian Economic Union and other markets as well.

How is One Belt, One Road initiative of the Chinese government boosting the economic development of the Kyrgyz Republic and the region?

Most of all, Kyrgyzstan supports the initiative of President of People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping about the joint implementation of the concept of “One Belt One Road” of the development of the Economic Belt of Silk Road. Revival of Silk Road has increasingly becoming an economic innovation, an instrument of development of economies of the countries in the framework of this initiative. Kyrgyzstan geographically stands in a suitable position of trade between China and countries of Central and South Asia. Joint development of the Silk Road Economic Belt creates new opportunities for Kyrgyzstan to be better involved in regional cooperation, international business and investments schemes, trade and services, development of new value-added chains. Along with Eurasian Economic Union, the One Belt One Road initiative may contribute to speedy development of economic cooperation in Eurasia and beyond.

Is Islamic radicalism a threat to the Kyrgyz Republic? What are the measures being undertaken by the government to prevent the spread of radicalism among youth?

Kyrgyz Republic condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and supports efforts of international community countering all challenges of radical ideology, extremism and violence. We are convinced that only with joint efforts we can stand against terrorism and violent ideology. In the Kyrgyz Republic, we strongly believe on the need of maintaining interfaith tolerance and good education. In 2014, President Atambaev established the “Iyman Foundation” which is tasked to prevent radical ideology and to increase religious literacy. One of the main areas of activity of the foundation is capacity building among imams, journalists, law enforcement agencies etc. The larger framework of our policy is the “National Concept in the Field of Religious Affairs until 2020”. I also want to note that our national efforts on this subject correspond with current initiatives of the UAE to encourage ideas of tolerance, peaceful coexistence, interfaith dialogue and cultural diversity. In fact, the ideas and provisions of Emirate’s National Programme of Tolerance naturally coincide with those of our national concept in religious affairs.



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