Kazakhstan is the Central Asian country with the strongest economic and diplomatic ties to Romania and the two countries engage in continuous political dialogue and regular high-level meetings. The relationship is of strategic importance to Romania. The main area of cooperation between Astana and Bucharest is the energy sector and related industries. Central Asia is increasingly important to Romania. Over the past few years, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania, as well as the Government of the country, have taken significant steps to strengthen its relations with the Central Asian republics.
The political dialogue between Romania and Central Asia is mainly focused on energy matters. Romania has a strategic location on the coast of the Black Sea, a key access route to the European market for Caspian Sea energy resources. By establishing new transport routes for oil and gas to reach Europe through the Black Sea, it will help reduce the European necessity of Russian gas.
Since its accession to the EU in 2007, Romania has also become more active in Central Asia. We are between the few European countries that have more than one embassy in Central Asia. At the beginning of the ‘90s, one of Romania’s foreign policy objectives was the revival of the Silk Road. In this matter, Romania joined the International Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) program, which had as purpose to develop economic and trade relations as well as transport links between its member countries.
Romania has a well-established diplomatic representation in the region. It set up an embassy in Kazakhstan in 1992, in Turkmenistan in 1993 and in Uzbekistan embassy in 1995. In 2012, Romania held a series of events in Bucharest to commemorate 20 years of diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
From Kazakhstan, Romania mostly imports oil for processing in the Petromidia refinery, part of the Rompetrol Group. Romania is one of Kazakhstan’s top ten largest export markets. According to Romania’s Ministry of Economy, in 2015, the volume of commercial bilateral exchanges between Romania and Kazakhstan reached a total of 1053,41 million Euros. The import had a value of 1010,29 million Euros, while Romania’s exports were of only 43,12 million Euros. In November 2016 figure registered in Romania 22 companies with Kazakh capital, according to the National Trade Register Office.
At the level of Chambers of Commerce, the two national chambers of Romania and Kazakhstan have expressed the intention to sign a cooperation agreement with the purpose of supporting stronger relations between the companies from both countries. Romania is deepening its political relations with the Central Asian states. Partnership between Astana and Bucharest, is worth highlighting. Energy cooperation offers opportunities for increased collaboration, particularly in the economic sphere. Central Asian goods can potentially enter Europe through Romania. Central Asian markets are more attractive than ever, particularly the Kazakhstani one, due to investment promotion measures taken by the country’s political leadership.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania is fully committed to support the participation of Romanian companies in the most important economic event of the world in 2017, i.e EXPO ASTANA 2017. Speaking about that, I am honored to express to our friends in Kazakhstan my admiration for the way they are preparing this event.
I am convinced that Expo Astana will be a great success.