Mr. Usen Suleimenov, Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, answers to our questions
– Historically it came that during the first years of Kazakhstan’s independence its economic relations were mainly developing with the Western, rather than with the Asia-Pacific states. However, at present both the Government and the business of Kazakhstan more and more demonstrate their interest in the experience of development of its neighbors, as well as seek opportunities to cooperate with them. Tell us about the Kazakhstan – Hong Kong relations. What has been achieved in the promotion of them?
– The Consulate General of Kazakhstan in the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of China, guided by the tasks set in the Addresses by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr.Nursultan Nazarbayev to the people of Kazakhstan “Strategy of Kazakhstan’s entry into the 50 most competitive countries of the world” and “A New Kazakhstan in A New World”, carries on activity aimed at promotion of trade and economic relations between Kazakhstan and the said regions and enhancement of the Kazakhstan’s image, as well as attraction of the Hong Kong businessmen to participate in the investment projects in Kazakhstan. The Consulate General also participated in the arrangement of the official visit of the President of Kazakhstan to Hong Kong that took place in December 2006. Within the said visit on December 22, 2006 the sides signed «Air Service Agreement”, as well as the Regional Financial Centre of Almaty city (RFCA) and the Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Limited (HKEx) signed Memorandum of Understanding. At present the sides are considering the issue of signing Agreement on mutual visa free treatment between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
– Late last year a big Kazakhstan delegation visited Hong Kong. As far as we know, they held talks on attraction of significant investments in Kazakhstan. What was the result of the said visit?
– Within the implementation of the “Strategy of Kazakhstan’s entry into the 50 most competitive countries of the world” the Consulate General together with the “Kazyna” Sustainable Development Fund of Kazakhstan, as well as in cooperation with the Trade Development Council, HKEx and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) on December 12, 2006 held a Conference “Investment Climate in Kazakhstan – Investment Opportunities of Hong Kong”. The aim of the Conference was to facilitate further development of trade and economic relations between Kazakhstan and Hong Kong and attraction of investments in the Kazakhstan’s economy. The participants of the Conference were Government officials, heads of financial institutions, as well as businessmen. In total there were 60 Kazakhstan’s entrepreneurs and 120 businessmen from Hong Kong. The Conference had a practical significance. Hong Kong businessmen had a good possibility to find out important investment projects being carried out in Kazakhstan, as well as about the possibilities to start business cooperation with Kazakhstan, which is the most stable, both economically and politically, country in the Eurasian region. Kazakhstan’s businessmen, in their turn, got familiarized with the Hong Kong’s experience in the financial, innovative, technological and information spheres, which could be successfully applied for the construction of the efficient and competitive economy of Kazakhstan. On the sidelines of the said Conference there took place a ceremony of signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kazakhstan Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. Also, against the initiative of the Consulate General of Kazakhstan, the Hong Kong business consulting company “Eurasia” announced the establishment of the Kazakhstan – Hong Kong Investment Consulting Centre “ULES”. The purpose of creation of the said Centre was facilitation of development of economic cooperation between the businesses of Kazakhstan and Hong Kong. The Centre’ activity includes investment consulting and legal services; strategy development and realization; corporate services – company formation and tax planning; credit reports; business matching and other. By the way, businessmen from Singapore expressed interest in setting up together with the Kazakhstan’s businessmen a company similar to that of “ULES”. On the sidelines of the Conference HKEx jointly with the Consulate General of Kazakhstan held a seminar on December 13, 2006, during which the leading legal, auditor and broker companies and investment banks familiarized Kazakhstan’s businessmen with the legal and auditor requirements, which are necessary for getting listed in the HKEx.
– Are Your efforts in developing relations between Kazakhstan and Hong Kong limited only by economic sphere?
– No. We also work on the promotion of bilateral cooperation in the humanitarian and cultural fields. In September 2006, for example, the delegation of the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) headed by its President visited Kazakhstan. The delegation met with the President of the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research (KIMEP) and the Rector of the Eurasian University named after Gumilyov. As a result, between the said universities there were achieved agreements on the students exchange and cooperation in the field of science and technology. By the way, at present four students of KIMEP are studying at HKBU. We observe favorable perspectives in the enhancement of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Hong Kong. The above mentioned Air Service Agreement, which was signed on the sidelines of the visit of President Nazarbayev to Hong Kong, will facilitate expeditious development of bilateral cooperation. At present the Consulate General holds talks with the Hong Kong airlines “Cathay Pacific”, “Dragonair” and “Oasis” on the arrangement of a direct flight from Hong Kong to Kazakhstan and vice versa.
– Four students from Kazakhstan. Frankly speaking, it is not plenty at all, taking into account that Kazakhstan experiences shortage of specialists in almost all fields of its economy. For example, the same financial sector is hungry for really qualified specialists. Are there any opportunities for a wider range of students exchange between Kazakhstan and Hong Kong, as well as for learning the experience of the Hong Kong companies, banks and HKEx?
– As is known, in the Address by the President of Kazakhstan “A New Kazakhstan in A New World” there were defined ten main tasks of the new stage of development of Kazakhstan and 30 important guidelines of the internal and foreign policy of Kazakhstan. I would want to tell you about the Consulate General’s initiatives, which, in our view, would facilitate implementation of some of them. During the recent meeting with Mr.Lawrence Fok, Vice President of the HKEx, he said that HKEx ir ready to render every help to Kazakhstan’s companies to get listed in their Exchange, as well as to train Kazakhstan’s brokers. In this regard, on the initiative of the Consulate General, the above mentioned Kazakhstan – Hong Kong Investment Consulting Centre “ULES” proposed establishment of the National centre for training brokers, auditors, evaluators, which also will teach Kazakhstan’s people the basics of the investment knowledge. Training will be carried out on pay basis for private companies and on gratis basis for some of the government bodies’ representatives. The training course be arranged in two formats – by the arrangement of classes in Almaty where expertise from HKEx, financial institutions, auditor and investment companies of Hong Kong will come to teach Kazakhstan businessmen; or by the arrangement of the groups of Kazakhstan businessmen and sending them to Hong Kong to obtain practical experience. The “ULES” Centre will not enlimit itself with the Hong Kong experience in the said fields and in future intends to expand its geography, inviting specialists from other stock markets of the world, including from NYSE, London Stock Exchange, Tokyo Stock Exchange and other. In our view, the work of “ULES” is nicely matching the strategies of such Kazakhstan’s state holdings as “Kazyna” and “Samruk”. Establishment of the National training centre under the chapeau of “ULES” would facilitate comprehensive accelerated modernization of Kazakhstan; establishment of an effective stock market; arrangement of a large scale education campaign in the society on the basics of investment; transfer from pilot financing of separate projects to full scale financing of diversification; development of a “smart economy”; evolvement of a goal-oriented system for supporting access of Kazakhstan’s businesses to foreign markets; and searching for, creating and gaining Kazakhstan’s “niches” in the system of the world economy, including promotion of the integration of regional financial markets around the Almaty financial centre. Moreover, in our view, this will give an impulse to provide assistance and motivation to raise competitiveness and exporting capabilities of Kazakhstan’s small, medium sized and large businesses; will facilitate comprehensive re-evaluation of venture financing for new businesses; creation of a Fund of funds, involving Hong Kong financial institutions as well; and speed up the transition of all legal entities to financial reporting based on international standard. By one word, this all will facilitate implementation of the tasks and guidelines stipulated in the February this year Address of the President of Kazakhstan.
– Summing up the said, could You briefly describe the advantages of cooperation with Hong Kong?
– As is known, Hong Kong has a splendid system of creating new enterprises and companies, which allows a businessman within the framework of “one window” system register a firm within one or two days. Also, the work of the proposed National training centre, along with teaching Kazakhstan’s people the basics of the investment knowledge, would, in our view, help systemize brokers’ activity, annual audit of state holdings and develop an effective method of real estate assessment, which bear a somewhat piecemeal character. We invite Kazakhstan’s businessmen to participate in the work of “ULES” Centre as partners, as well as in the creation of the National training centre of specialists in the said fields. We also invite Kazakhstan companies to shift their accent from the West towards one of the major world financial centres Hong Kong and its stock market. By the way, according to the opinion of some independent analysts, a recent fall of the number of world stock markets that took place on “black Tuesday” was engineered by the financial bodies of China, which also was, supposedly, a signal of the Beijing’s intention to develop its financial instruments on the global scale. HKEx, by the way, suffered least of the other world’s stock markets.