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22 Sep, 2008 13:19

Hi-tech trade bonds Russia and Kazakhstan

Russia and Kazakhstan are seeking to boost cooperation in hi-tech industries at a joint forum in the Kazakh city of Aktobe. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev have taken part in a forum to enhance ties in terms of inn

The two countries have good relations and Russia sees its Asian neighbour as one of its most reliable partners in the post-Soviet space. Trade turnover between the two stood at $US 17 billion last year and for Kazakhstan, Russia is business partner number one.

At the beginning of the forum Nazarbayev expressed his support for Russia, saying his country would remain a partner, ally and neighbour to Russia and will not get involved in any anti-Russian rhetoric from anywhere in the world. But politics aside, the forum was all about big business and big deals.

Russia's president said it's important that partners stand by each other in times of difficulty.

“The financial crisis that is creating many difficulties for the world economy makes it necessary to look for joint actions in response to it. The more coordinated the actions of different states, especially of close strategic partners, the easier it will be to overcome the consequences of similar crisis situations,” Medvedev said.

Kazakhstan's president noted that the two countries have transformed the border between the two countries into 'a stronghold of friendship, trust and beneficial cooperation'.

“Now it's time for a major breakthrough towards an innovative economy. Russia has more opportunities in this respect, but we hope we can rely on Russia's support in this field,” said Nazarbayev.

One of the projects that was shown to both presidents at the technology exhibition was a Russian-built plant in Kazakhstan to produce raw material for making stainless steel. The countries' leaders were able to actually launch the plant.

The key issues in cooperation between the two countries in terms of big business interests are oil and gas. Kazakhstan is central Asia's biggest oil producer and, although it's keen to develop energy ties with China and with Europe, the bulk of its energy exports still goes through Russian pipelines, and cooperation in this area is set to continue. Medvedev stressed Russia and Kazakhstan will continue building new pipelines and make new investments if need be.

The most high-profile cocoperation agreement between the two states is the Baikonur cosmodrome, which Russia continues to lease from Kazakhstan. 

Russia and Kazakhstan share a common history, a common border and even a common language. Even after the USSR collapsed Kazakhstan kept Russian as one of its official languages.

Twelve of the 27 Russian regions that border CIS states are located on the border with Kazakhstan. The inter-regional links account for more than 70 per cent of Russia-Kazakhstan trade.

The bulk of trade to Kazakhstan comes from the Moscow, Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk, Orenburg, Tyumen, Omsk and Astrakhan regions.