Halimah to S'pore firms: Take closer look at Kazakhstan

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob urged Singapore businesses to take a closer look at the opportunities in Kazakhstan and Central Asia as she officiated at an expo in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Saturday.

Madam Halimah was on a four-day visit to Kazakhstan that ended yesterday, during which she called on several officials, including Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev.

She also officiated at the opening ceremony of the Singapore Pavilion at Astana Expo 2017.

"Singapore's participation at the Astana Expo 2017 is testament to the close bilateral ties that we share with Kazakhstan," she said.

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"We are confident that Kazakhstan will host a very successful Expo, which will boost Kazakhstan's goal of being one of the top 30 economies by 2050."

In recent years, she noted, there have been frequent high- level exchanges of visits between Singapore and Kazakhstan, and exchanges between officials of the two countries.

"Through Singapore's participation in the Expo, I hope that we can share Singapore's experience in future energy and sustainable development. I also hope that our participation in Expo 2017 will encourage Singapore businesses to take a closer look at the opportunities in Kazakhstan and the larger Central Asian region," she added.

Kazakhstan is at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, and Singapore is a gateway to Asean, she noted. "We can utilise our strengths as hubs in our respective regions and bring our two regions closer together."

Kazakhstan's Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Usen Suleimen, said in a statement Kazakhstan is one of the main trade and economic partners of Singapore in Central Asia, and the country will continue to increase its interaction with Singapore.

"Our countries recently concluded negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty, which I hope will be signed by the end of this year within the Kazakhstan-Singapore Business Forum to be held in Singapore."

Madam Halimah was accompanied by MPs Liang Eng Hwa, Chia Shi-Lu and Intan Azura Mokhtar, and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Yasmine Yahya

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2017, with the headline 'Halimah to S'pore firms: Take closer look at Kazakhstan'. Print Edition | Subscribe