Kassym-Jomart Tokayev delivered a video message at the International Forum on Northern Economic Cooperation 2020, which kicked off today in Seoul under the theme “Global changes after COVID-19 and the Future of Northern Economic Cooperation”.
The Head of State praised the “New North Policy” strategy initiated by President Moon Jae-in, which on many occasions has proved its relevance and vitality over the past three years. He commended the South Korean leader’s visionary approach towards building a more prosperous, interconnected and stable Eurasia.
According to President Tokayev, as the whole world faces unprecedented challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, the synergy of political will and economic prudence is of crucial importance.
Speaking about the Kazakh-South Korean strategic partnership underpinned by shared values, mutual support and close people-to-people ties, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted the contribution of the hundred thousandth Korean community of Kazakhstan, which serves as a golden bridge of friendship between the peoples of the two countries.
“Korean investments into the Kazakh economy surpassed 7 billion dollars. Despite the global turbulence, this year our bilateral trade also shows a robust growth. Here, one should keep in mind that Kazakhstan accounts for 70% of overall GDP of all five Central Asian states put together. And Korea secured the 10th position among leading investors. So, we have a huge untapped potential for further boosting our mutually beneficial interaction,” Kazakhstan President underscored.
President Tokayev noted that Moon Jae-in’s historic visit Kazakhstan in April 2019 opened up a whole new chapter of bilateral cooperation. The “Fresh Wind” Program endorsed during this visit is aimed at intensifying the comprehensive Kazakh-Korean economic, trade and cultural ties.
In this regard, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stated that both the “New Northern Policy” and “Fresh Wind” Program correspond very well with strategic goals enshrined in our national programs, including “Digital Kazakhstan” and “Nurly Zhol” (Bright Path).
Pointing to the looming end of the long oil super-cycle, the Head of State stressed the paramount importance of building a truly diversified and sustainable economy for Kazakhstan.
“That’s why I initiated the New Economic Course. This idea is not only about structural reforms, but also about building a more dynamic and stronger nation. Kazakhstan is ready to propose a tailor-made toolkit for Korean investors. Specifically, I mean provision of tax and custom preferences, co-financing of projects, partial guarantees and export support mechanisms,” the President said.
Kazakhstan President also highlighted the potential of the Astana International Financial Centre, noting its instruments based on English common law, and a unique ecosystem for foreign businesses.
In conclusion, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev wished the forum’s participants a fruitful work and the best of luck and success for President Moon and Government of South Korea in their noble endeavors.