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Cooperation of the Republic of Kazakhstan with Swiss Confederation

Overview

June 1, 1992 — established of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the Swiss Confederation.
In 1993 were held the opening of the consulate of Switzerland in Almaty, which in January 1999 was converted to a Consulate General. Now is fully relocated the Embassy of the Swiss Confederation in Astana.
In 1996 was opened the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Bern.
Since July 2009 — Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Swiss Confederation is Mukhtar Tileuberdi.
Since 2008 — Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation in the Republic of Kazakhstan is Stefan Nellen.

Political relations

The main approaches and priorities of the Kazakh-Swiss cooperation have been identified in the meetings and negotiations of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1996 and 1998 with the Presidents of Switzerland P.Delamuraz, F.Cotti and P.Couchepin in 2003.
19-21 January 2003 was held the official visit of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to the Swiss Confederation. The visit summed up ten years of bilateral cooperation and will bring them to a qualitatively new stage of development.
In addition, the Head of State in January 2009 visited Switzerland in the framework of participation in the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Swiss Confederation demonstrates a strong interest in strengthening the mutually beneficial cooperation with Kazakhstan, as in the bilateral format and within international organizations.
Recent years have seen a strengthening of the Kazakh-Swiss relations and extension of political contacts between the two countries, which resulted in the expansion of political, economic and cultural dialogue. Sides hold similar positions on key issues in international and regional security. The Swiss side has supported Kazakhstan’s candidacy for OSCE chairmanship in 2010, and also assisted on Kazakhstan’s WTO accession. For Kazakhstan is interesting the modern experience of Switzerland’s economic, social and political spheres.
In March 4, 2010 was held the official visit of the Secretary of State – the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan K.Saudabayev to the Switzerland. The Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan negotiated with the Federal President Doris Leythard, the Chairman of the National Council of the Swiss Parliament Pascal Bruderer-Wyss and Federal Advisor — Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey.
At a meeting with P. Bruderer-Wyss was discussed the prospects of strengthening inter-parliamentary relations between the countries. During the ministerial consultations, the sides noted the dynamic nature of the development of bilateral relations in recent years. Saudabayev said about the need to bring to Kazakhstan the new Swiss technologies in the field of processing energy, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture. The sides also noted the need to expand cultural and humanitarian cooperation, particularly in education.
For its part Micheline Calmy-Rey said that Kazakhstan is an important partner of Switzerland, and “our relations are gaining rapid pace and it is — a very good indicator.”
On 14-17 October 2011 the State Secretary of Kazakhstan Saudabayev paid a working visit to Bern. During the visit, he took part in the Conference of the Interparliamentary Union Assembly «Parliamentarians for Nuclear Disarmament», and on October 17, 2011 he met with Federal President of Switzerland Micheline Calmy-Rey.
During the meeting the Federal President of Switzerland emphasized the initiative of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to the convening of the OSCE Summit in December 2010, which took place at a very high level. Also, Micheline Calmy-Rey thanked the Kazakh leader for the warm welcome and attention to her person in Astana.
On October 16-19, 2011 was held a visit of President of the Majilis of Kazakh Parliament U.Mukhamedzhanov to Bern. In the framework of its participation in the 125th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union held bilateral talks with the President of the National Council of Swiss Parliament Jean-Rene Germanier. Duting the meeting was discussed the establishment of inter-parliamentary cooperation group «Kazakhstan — Switzerland» as well as prospects for further cooperation in the PA OSCE.
The outcome of meetings and conversations with officials in Switzerland suggest readiness Bern to pursue a more active political cooperation with Kazakhstan, which is regarded as a priority partner in the region.

Trade and economic cooperation

The trade balance of Switzerland in Kazakhstan, after Italy, China and the Netherlands occupied the fourth place, the trade balance for 2011 was over US $ 3.3 billion. The Switzerland is share for 7.6% of total trade of our country.
The trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Switzerland for 2011 amounted to 5.118 billion US- dollars, including exports of 4.961 billion dollars, and imports — 0.157 million US-dollars. During January-March 2012 turnover amounted to 1.083 billion U.S. dollars, including the export of 1.043 billion, imports — 40 million.
Kazakhstan’s main exports are mineral products (95.9%), precious stones and metals (4%). Commodity structure of imports from Switzerland is as follows: precision instruments, watches and equipment Optical Photographic — 33.9%, chemical products — 32%, machinery, equipment, electrical equipment — 19.6%, agricultural products — 3, 5%.
In Kazakhstan are registered 381 companies with Swiss capital. In the period 2009 — 2011 gross inflow of direct investment from Switzerland to Kazakhstan made up 471.8 billion U.S. dollars, while gross outflow of direct investment from  Kazakhstan to Switzerland in the same period amounted to $ 116.0 million U.S. dollars.
The Intergovernmental Commission. Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Commission from the Kazakh side is the Minister of Justice Berik Imashev. The 7th meeting of the Commission was held on May 23, 2011 in Astana. In order to attract the interested Swiss companies to the market of Kazakhstan were opened the Chambers of Commerce Switzerland – Kazakhstan (2010, Lucerne) and the “Forum Switzerland – Kazakhstan” (2011, Zürich).

Cultural and humanitarian cooperation

Embassy on an ongoing basis work to expand contacts in the field of training and retraining of civil servants, as well as the establishment of direct links between universities, scientific and cultural centres, including under the State program «Bolashak». The Embassy also assists the Ministry of Education and Science to establish cooperation with the Federal Technical Institute in Zurich for the project «Scientific and Educational Complex – the New University in the Astana city.»
Great assistance to Kazakhstan continues to provide a specially created for this purpose social, humanitarian organization «Khilka», which helps to the home for children with developmental problems, deaf children, children affected by the tests at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.
23-26 May 2011 in Astana and Almaty was held the Days of Culture of Switzerland, during which with the support of the Swiss Tourism Association «Swisstourism» were organized cultural activities, as well as a concert of the Swiss folk ensemble «Edelveis.»
Embassy paid great attention to cooperation in health sector. In 2011-12 was continued to strengthen contacts between the leading Swiss clinics and medical centers  of Kazakhstan. Embassy conducted a series of meetings with the university hospitals in Zurich, Bern and Geneva and organized a visit of representatives of public health centers of Kazakhstan, the sides agreed to conduct tours of Swiss high-level specialists in Kazakhstan in 2012 in order to transfer know-how and to conduct a master classes, a consultation and joint operations in hospitals in Kazakhstan.
Great importance is attached to the work with the Kazakh Minority in promoting culture and traditions of modern Kazakhstan. Kazakh Minority in Switzerland is actively involved in the information-image, cultural and festive events organized by the Embassy.

The legal base of cooperation:

  1. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation on a regular air service, which signed on August 5, 1993 in Bern and entered into force on August 12, 1997.
  2. Agreement between the Government of Republic of Kazakhstan and the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation on trade and economic cooperation, which signed on May 12, 1994 and entered into force on  July 1, 1997.
  3. Agreement between the Government of Kazakhstan and the Swiss Federal Council on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments, which signed on May 12, 1994 and entered into force on May 13, 1998.
  4. Convention between the Government of Kazakhstan and the Swiss Federal Council «On the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital, which signed on October 21, 1999 and entered into force on November 24, 2000.
  5. Agreement between the Government of Kazakhstan and the Swiss Federal Council on international road transport, which signed on January 20, 2003, to be in force after the respective domestic procedures.
  6. Agreement on readmission, which signed on March 4, 2010 during the visit of the Secretary of State – the Minister of Foreign Affairs  of Kazakhstan K.Saudabayev in Bern.
  7. Agreement on visa facilitation for diplomatic passports holders, which signed on March 4, 2010 during the visit of the Secretary of State – the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan K.Saudabayev in Bern.