Speech given by Deputy Head of Mission, Greg Quinn, on 21 November. This is an English transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered.
“Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
“I am delighted to be here today and to greet you, the participants of this important roundtable. I am pleased that my Embassy has been able to financially support this project on improving investment legislation in Kazakhstan. I would like to thank the Industrial Chamber of Kazakhstan for implementing the project. Thank you also to Ak Zhol for hosting us here today.
“We believe the recommendations on the investment law you will draft today will help to strengthen the investment climate in Kazakhstan. Ensuring an open investment climate is vital to encourage the inward investment we all need to develop our economies. The government of Kazakhstan has achieved significant improvements in attracting foreign investments since the early 1990s. Indeed, Kazakhstan is the second largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the CIS region after Russia. However, to be honest, foreign investors are still concerned about some of the terms and conditions of business operation in this country.
“Stability of contracts and their terms is one of the challenges that foreign business face here. Licensing and permits regulation is another burden for foreign firms. There is also scope for confusion between legislation and other rules which may lead to dual interpretation of legislative acts. Such issues need to be addressed. However, we welcome the government’s constant efforts to improve the investment climate here and we will continue to support Kazakhstan’s endeavour.
“The UK is the second largest foreign investor in Kazakhstan with more than 24 billion dollars invested over the last 20 years. That, I believe, demonstrates our commitment to Kazakhstan. UK business is already well represented here. But we must avoid complacency. We are confident that improvements in the investment climate will attract even more British companies and not only to the natural resources development but also to the non-oil sectors. We fully understand the President’s desire to diversify away from oil and gas. British companies can help with this. That will be beneficial to us both.
“I wish you fruitful discussions.