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NDTO News Article

ND Represented at 5th International Astana Economic Forum

Delegation Announces Kazakhstan USCS Office Will Remain Open

The Fifth Astana Economic Forum – the international event in which participants discuss the current state and future of Kazakhstan and neighboring countries – attracted a record 8,000 participants from 93 countries.  An emerging market with one of the most stable economies and top growth potentials in the world, Kazakhstan is on the minds of many exporters and investors from the U.S., and North Dakota is on the top of this list.  NDTO Executive Director Dean Gorder was among the participants who attended the event, which was held in Kazakhstan’s capital city May 22-24.

“Kazakhstan is an important export market for a number of North Dakota companies, and it’s vital that we stay informed on the country’s policies and economic situation,” said Gorder.  “The country is expected to have a 7 ½ percent economic growth rate in 2012, compared to the estimated 3 ½ percent in neighboring Russia, and improving agricultural throughout the country is a priority.  That’s where North Dakota steps up to the plate.”

Stateside, Senators John Hoeven and Kent Conrad and Congressman Rick Berg have been working to keep the office of the U.S. Commercial Service, the organization which provides U.S. trade promotion assistance for commercial companies, open in Kazakhstan.  On June 5, the delegation announced that efforts were successful, and the U.S. Commercial Service has agreed to continue its services with three employees in Kazakhstan

From 2005 to 2010, North Dakota companies exported more than $192 million to Kazakhstan, and exports to the emerging market grew by over 105 percent in 2011 alone.

The creation of a single agricultural hub within the Customs Union, which would consist of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus, was also a topic of discussion at the Forum.  The hub would mean grain exporters in Customs Union countries would work in tandem to ship products more efficiently, reduce transportation costs, and ensure food security in Customs Union countries.

During the Forum the Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization, Alejandro Jara, made the important announcement that Kazakhstan could join the WTO as early as the end of 2012.

More than 2,000 international delegates, including 300 guests with top reputations in academics, government and politics, took part in 55 events at the Forum, whose theme was “Global Economic Transformation: Challenges and Perspectives of Development.”

Notable participants included current and former heads of states, 25 current and former ministers, 40 heads of international corporations, 11 Nobel Prize winners.  Renowned economists,  heads of international organizations –such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, the Club of Madrid, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia, and the World Intellectual Property Organization – were also present.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev gave the Forum’s keynote address.  He proposed five principles for 21st Century development, which he called ‘G-Global Principles’. They were: Evolution rather than revolution; Justice, equality and consensus; Global tolerance and trust; Global transparency; and Constructive multipolarity.

The 2013 Astana Economic Forum is planned for May 24, 2013.