XII Russia-Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum 2015-09-16 15:50:00 Sochi Vladimir Putin and President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev took part in the XII Russia-Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum. The forum’s theme this year is Cooperation in Agriculture Sector and Food Security. * * * President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends, good afternoon, It is a great pleasure to greet everyone taking part in this XII Russia-Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum. These annual joint meetings with the regional heads have become an established good tradition. Even more important, they play a big part in developing the multifaceted strategic partnership between our two countries. Present today are the heads of 28 Russian and Kazakhstani regions, but our interregional ties extend over a much broader spectrum. A total 76 of Russia’s 85 regions have close cooperation with partners in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is a big foreign market for many of these regions. Among the leaders in ties with Kazakhstan are Tatarstan, Sverdlovsk Region, Chelyabinsk Region, and Orenburg Region. Each of these regions has trade with Kazakhstan amounting to more than $1 billion. It is largely thanks to the regions’ active efforts that our countries’ bilateral economic ties are growing ever stronger with every year, expanding, and, most importantly, diversifying. The first interregional forum took place in 2003, at the President of Kazakhstan’s initiative. Since then, our bilateral trade has increased six-fold, to $21 billion in 2014. This year, looking at the figures for the first half of the year, despite the difficulties our economies face, the currency fluctuations, and a drop in overall value of our trade, our trade increased in physical volume by 3.2 percent. Reciprocal capital flows are growing. Kazakhstan now has $11 billion in accumulated Russian investment, of which $1.5 billion was invested last year. Thus, we see that this process is continuing. More than 11,000 joint ventures have been established in all different economic sectors. Work is active on developing the legal base for our bilateral interregional cooperation. On this forum’s sidelines, new agreements have been signed between Udmurtia, Volgograd, Omsk and Ulyanovsk regions in Russia, and Aktyubinsk, West Kazakhstan and Pavlodar regions in Kazakhstan. Overall, our regions have now concluded around 300 agreements covering a wide range of areas from industrial cooperation to joint cultural and educational programmes. Today’s forum is devoted to one of the most important areas for interregional cooperation. We will take a detailed look at how to increase our bilateral cooperation in agriculture and ensure our countries’ food security. Russia and Kazakhstan have much experience of working together in agriculture and the agribusiness sector. Taking place at the same time as this forum in Sochi is a specialised exhibition on our joint experience and achievements in this area. Our peoples undertook the heroic labour of cultivating the virgin lands in 1955–56 and increased grain production. Today, Russia and Kazakhstan are among the world’s biggest grain exporters. We are working together on new projects, including assembly of tractors and other farm machinery. Rostselmash is working in Akmola Region, for example, and tractor factories in North Kazakhstan are working. To be continued.