Georgia is pledging to better protect Kazakh investors, while a top Kazakhstan official confirms his country is committed to supporting Georgia and help grow its economy.
We want to be in Georgia but our businesses should be protected,” said Kazakhstan’s first Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev after meeting Georgian high officials in Tbilisi yesterday.
Sagintayev sat down with Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Economy Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili to discuss ways to further develop economic relations, how to grow Batumi Port and secure the rights of Kazakh investors in the country.
At the meeting Sagintayev asked the Georgian leaders to quickly establish a consortium for developing the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route which would allow goods to travel from East to West.
We agreed to establish a consortium which will ship cargo from Chinese ports to Batumi, from Batumi to Istanbul and then on to Europe. This is a very beneficial transit route for all of us,” said Sagintayev.
Georgia’s Prime Minister said the Government would "do everything” it could to utilise the potential opportunities offered by Kazakhstan.
We discussed ways to attract larger quantities of cargo from Kazakhstan and ways the state can support this; the return of Kazakh investors to Tbilisi gas distribution company … as well as existing bilateral cooperation prospects. We have to do everything to utilise this potential,” Kvirikashvili said.
Kazakhstan committed to Batumi Port and Oil Terminal
At the meeting Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Prime Minister assured Georgia Kazakhstan would not sell its assets at Batumi Port and Oil Terminal.
We did not invest $300 million USD in Batumi to [sell up and] leave it now. Georgia’s Prime Minister promised us he would protect our assets as Georgia wants to keep Kazakhstan as an investor in this business,” he said.
Kazakhstan is not going to leave [Batumi Port and Oil Terminal] because it is part of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route,” stressed Sagintayev.
Several years ago Kazakhstan’s state oil and gas company, KazTransGas, announced plans to sell its assets in protest of the appointment of ‘special management’ to its Tbilisi branch KazTransGas-Tbilisi in 2009.
At the time the Kazakh investors believed this violated their rights as foreign investors, and claimed they were forced out from participating in managing the Tbilisi branch of KazTransGas.
Georgia’s Ecomony Minister agreed it was best if Kazakh experts were involved in the management of KazTransGas-Tbilisi and said Sagintayev’s assurance the Kazakh company would remain in Batumi was "one of the most important issues of the meeting.
Now [Kazakhstan] plans to invest in Batumi Port and Oil Terminal to improve the technologies,” said Kumsishvili.
On another note increase of trade turnover was another topic of conversation between the Georgian and Kazakh officials.