President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda on Wednesday morning started an official visit to Kazakhstan. Economic cooperation is the main point on the agenda of President Duda's visit.
President Andrzej Duda was welcomed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the Presidential Palace in Astana. After the welcome ceremony the presidents held a meeting.
"My visit to Kazakhstan is aimed at further stimulating economic cooperation", President Andrzej Duda said in a statement for the press, after talks with Kazakh president.
President Duda thanked his counterpart for the last year's visit to Poland, which, in his opinion, gave impetus to entrepreneurs and resulted in huge turnover growth in the first half of 2017.
According to the Polish president, exports from Poland to Kazakhstan increased by 50 percent during that time while imports from Kazakhstan to Poland went up by 80 percent. "This is a truly spectacular result", Andrzej Duda emphasised.
President Andrzej Duda starts visit to Kazakhstan on Wednesday
"Together with the president of Kazakhstan we carry out very important tasks that lead to stimulating economic exchange between Poland and Kazakhstan", the Polish president pointed out.
Andrzej Duda expressed the hope that joint actions would effectively reverse the downward trend triggered by the political situation, including the conflict in Ukraine and related sanctions. The president said that the interest on the part of entrepreneurs was high. Therefore, representatives of Polish companies came to Astana with him.
President Duda advocates that representatives of the Kazakh business can travel visa-free to Poland. As he added, Poland has raised the issue at the EU forum.
- Poland, Kazakhstan sign cooperation deals
Before in the presence of President Andrzej Duda and Kazakh head of state Nursultan Nazarbayev environment protection and economic cooperation deals were signed.
On behalf of Poland, the documents were signed by Environment Minister Jan Szyszko and deputy Development Minister Tadeusz Koscinski, who accompany President Duda on his visit. The two agreements were the first in a series of more than ten deals scheduled to be signed on Wednesday.
Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed his country's role as the gateway to the Eurasian Economic Union. He said his last year's visit to Warsaw had been a key moment in the relations between the two countries.
Last year 115 companies with Polish capital came to invest Kazakhstan and the inflow of Polish investment amounted to USD 200 mln, the Kazakh president noted.
The Polish president's presence at Wednesday's Polish-Kazakhstan Economic Forum is seen as the culmination of the Polish economic promotion conducted for the past three months and ending on September 10 at Expo 2017.
"Poland is the most important partner for Kazakhstan in Central and Eastern Europe, There are more than 200 Polish companies operating in Kazakhstan and Polish entrepreneurs have invested more than 200 million dollars since Kazakhstan became independent”, Kazakhstan's deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vasilenko said at a meeting with Polish reporters at the Polish-Kazakh Economic Forum.
As an example of Polish success in his country, the official pointed out to the investment made by Polpharma generics producer which purchased Chimfarm pharmaceutical company, as well as construction chemicals producer Selena which built two factories and distribution centres in Kazakhstan.
- Polish-Kazakhstan Economic Forum
President Duda and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev attended a Poland-Kazakhstan Economic Forum.
Andrzej Duda stressed the he and Nursultan Nazarbayev were making efforts to increase economic cooperation between their countries. "We are returning to the good path that our countries used to follow three or four years ago. (...) I believe the political involvement of top officials contributes to it", President Duda explained.
Andrzej Duda stressed he would like Polish-Kazakh trade to reach the annual level of USD 3 billion in six years' time.
"We are very interested in increasing the presence of Polish companies on this market. We want Polish business to develop and we want Polish companies to invest also beyond the borders of our country, offering jobs in other countries, in this way contributing to the economic growth of other states and strengthening our friendship and good relations with them, but also making money, building their potential and fostering the further growth of Polish companies on the global level", President Duda said.
The president encouraged Kazakh companies to do business in Poland, which he said was one of the fastest growing countries in the EU.
On Thursday, the Polish president will host the Polish National Day at the Expo exhibition.
The Polish presidential couple will end their visit to Kazakhstan on Friday. (PAP)