NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan is keen to boost relations with Spain, which it sees as an important partner in southern Europe, the Kazakh ambassador to the Iberian nation told a press conference in the capital city of Nur-Sultan.
“Kazakhstan is a key partner for Spain in Central Asia, while Spain for us is a relevant partner in southern Europe,” Konstantin Zhigalov said.
The diplomat noted that July will mark the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Strategic Association Agreement between Kazakhstan and Spain, a document he said was of great importance for both nations.
He said that Nur-Sultan was trying to expand the list of goods “Made in Kazakhstan” that are exported to Spain beyond oil, the Central Asian country’s major export.
“We are currently working on issues related to the export of concentrated zirconium that is produced in Kazakhstan, which is used to produce ceramic tiles,” Zhigalov said, adding that about 200 Spanish companies have shown interest in the product.
Moreover, the ambassador said, Kazakh firm Abzal and K and Spain’s Herba Ricemills are discussing the possibility of promoting bilateral trade in rice.
“Both are currently analyzing the rice varieties that exist in the two countries to export in both directions,” he said.
More than 40 Spanish companies operate in Kazakhstan, including Talgo, Zara and Silos Cordoba, the diplomat pointed out.
The value of Kazakhstan-Spain trade reached $2 billion in 2018 and Spanish direct investment in the Central Asian country stood at $205.5 billion, Zhigalov said.
“The result we have achieved is good, but we want to intensify cooperation and we invite the major Spanish companies to Kazakhstan,” he said.
Sectors that offer attractive possibilities for bilateral cooperation include transport infrastructure, renewable energy, machinery construction, defense, metallurgy, aerospace and tourism.
As many as 400,000 Kazakhs visit Spain every year, the ambassador said, while many citizens of Kazakhstan own homes in the Iberian nation.