The two Presidents discussed issues of bilateral trade and cooperation on the economic, cultural and humanitarian fronts.
President Nazarbayev described France as one of Kazakhstan’s leading trade partners and underlined the need to take economic relations to an even higher level. This will involve activating the work of the Kazakhstan-France Business Council and the Inter-governmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. The President talked about Kazakhstan’s program of accelerated industrial-innovative development. There was also discussion of establishing direct flights between Astana and Paris. President Nazarbayev noted Kazakhstan’s interest in cooperating with France in the area of education and research and development.
President Nazarbayev invited President Hollande to make an official visit to Kazakhstan. At a press briefing after the meeting, President Nazarbayev noted that Kazakhstan and France are cooperating on 27 major joint projects and that annual meetings of the Nazarbayev-Hollande commission will continue to maintain the progress of these projects. “I believe that our cooperation in the economic, political and humanitarian-educational sphere will continue for the benefit of the interests of both sides”, the President said.
Among a series of meetings with leading members of the French business community, President Nazarbayev met with Alstom chairman, Patrick Kron. Alstom, the world’s largest power equipment and rail manufacturer, will soon begin a joint venture with Kazakhstan Railways to produce electric locomotives.
Since 1994 French companies have invested over USD 9 billion in Kazakhstan and the level of investment has intensified in recent years, with more than 100 joint enterprises now in operation. Investors include major enterprises such as Alstom, Areva, Bouygues, EADS Eurocopter, Lactalis, Thales, Total, Vinci and Vika.
Trade turnover between France and Kazakhstan has risen in recent years, to reach USD 6 billion in 2011, an increase of 20% over the 2010 figure. Growth has continued this year, when trade between January and August amounted to USD 4.9 billion, an increase of 32% over the comparable 2011 period.
During the visit, President Nazarbayev also met with Bernard Bigot, Chairman of France’s Atomic Energy Commission and Jean-Pierre Talamoni, Director of International Development of EADS, the aerospace and defense group.
A meeting also took place with prominent French economist and writer Jacques Attali, first President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.