Kazakhstan, Astana / corr Trend K.Arinova / Trend's interview with British Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Paul Brammel
Question: How do you estimate the trade and economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and UK? What is the potential for further development?
Answer: In accordance with the official data by the Government of Kazakhstan, in 2006 the goods turnover between the two countries exceeded $1bln. The UK is the third biggest investor in Kazakhstan. British investments in the economy of Kazakhstan since its independence has amounted to3bln pounds.
I hope for further development of our cooperation both in traditional spheres, such as oil and gas, where the UK has always been powerful, and new projects which are opened for us in connection with the diversification of the Kazkah economy.
I have recently visited the Kostanay region, were he met with the governor of this region, Mr Kulagin. It was a pleasure to hear that the British companies set up purchase of Kazakh grains in this region. It has dealt small volumes, because the UK is not the huge grains contractor in Kazakhstan, while I regard it as a good symbol of development of new directions for interaction.
As to British investments, there is the prospect of investing in the non-oil sector. During my visit to Kostanay region I visited the plant on production of straw panels for the construction of buildings on Accessible Building program. This production is an interaction between the Kazakh corporation CIH and the British Stramit. So, there is a margin.
Question: What is your viewpoint in connection with the EU's aspiration for diversification of hydrocarbon deliveries from the Central Asia?
Answer: Indeed, the EU countries are seriously interested in having stable and geographically economic routes for energy deliveries. In this context such aspiration is quite natural.
Question: I cannot pass by an actual topic, concerning the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, which actively supports the EU. Do the British companies, such as Shell, intend to continue achieving the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline or will they use the Caspian route, on which the heads of three countries has made a resolution to build?
Answer: In terms of diversification of energy deliveries, the British Government supports the principle of the existence of a variety of routes, which provides an opportunity for selection from the aspect of market considerations. Every route proposed is interesting and should be economically expedient. Diversification expands the circle of consumers and offers more opportunities both for consumers and suppliers in the world market. So, it enables buyers to receive and acquire goods at reasonable prices.
As to the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, it is another way to access foreign markets and if the investors consider the project as interesting from the economic aspect, then its construction makes sense.
I would repeat that a decision on the pipeline should be made and the route to transport gas should be made from the aspect of economic feasibility.