President OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Mr Nazarbayev, let me welcome you to Russia, to this region not far from Kazakhstan. It is not by chance that we chose Yekaterinburg as the venue for our meeting, given that the main subject of today’s meeting and discussion is cooperation between our two countries’ regions.
We have been leading this work for a long time now, or I should say rather that we have been supporting it at the highest level. Our colleagues are working very intensively and productively, coming up with many interesting projects.
I want to say at the start of our meeting that since the Customs Union has been in full operation our trade results have shown a substantial improvement. At the same time, I note that the flow of goods from Kazakhstan to Russia is growing much faster than that of Russian goods to Kazakhstan.
The growth last year was of 20 percent and 8 percent, respectively. The flow of goods from Kazakhstan to Russia increased by 20 percent, while Russia’s deliveries to Kazakhstan were up by 8.5 percent. The situation has changed a little this year, with Russian supplies to Kazakhstan now up by slightly more than 13 percent, while the figure for Kazakhstan’s goods coming into Russia is a little over 20 percent. Such is the trend, but we are not discouraged by it. On the contrary, we are sure we will eventually reach a balance that will be good for both economies.
In any case, we are very pleased to see you, and I am sure that we will have an interesting, intensive and useful discussion.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: Mr Putin, thank you for this opportunity to meet with you and discuss our bilateral relations.
We began our interregional cooperation a decade ago now. Today, our meeting marks the Forum’s tenth anniversary. Of course we have accomplished a lot over this time, and this has served as the base for building the Customs Union. Now we are moving to the next level of integration. This is something we are all working on.
The neighbouring regions in our countries have established joint ventures and developed trade ties over recent years. We see that 70 percent of our bilateral trade is between these neighbouring regions. Today, we are meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s industrial heart. This is a region that is close to us and with which we have historic ties.
We have huge opportunities. Supplies of raw materials, ferrous alloys and bauxites from Kazakhstan make up a big share of our trade. Our reciprocal investment has increased, and our exports and imports have also grown of late. Russia has a very good statistics agency. We are here just talking, but the Russian statistics agency shows very clearly that the situation is picking up. The main thing is that the business community is happy and trade is growing. I think that the Customs Union, Common Economic Space and the future Eurasian Economic Union open up even more new opportunities for cooperation.