Cooperation between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan is reaching a new level. The countries intend to strengthen ties in the trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres. This interaction will give impetus to the whole Central Asian region, analysts say.

KAZBEK MAIGELDINOV, STAFF, LIBRARY OF FIRST PRESIDENT OF KAZAKHSTAN:

 - Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are one of the largest and rapidly growing states of the region. Mutually beneficial relations between the two states can impact the economic development of the whole region. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are planning to implement large investment projects and other Central Asian states may be involved in it.

Uzbekistan is Kazakhstan’s strategic partner. Foreign trade turnover between the countries amounted to one and a half billion dollars last year. Now the states expect that this figure to grow to $5 billion. This shows that countries have sufficient potential for active economic relations. The two countries’ entrepreneurs have outlined new steps for cooperation and are ready to work on the widest range of activities.

MEIRZHAN MAIKENOV, DEPUTY CHAIRMAN, KAZAKH INVEST:

 - Uzbek government has canceled the excise rates for some excise products. If the excise tax for flour was 11%, now it is zero, for sunflower oil - up to 5%. We have all conditions to cooperate and build up our trade relations.

Bus connection between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will facilitate bilateral cooperation. Mazhilis members have ratified the protocol on international transport connection between the two countries. According to Kazakh Minister for Investments and Development Zhenis Kassymbek, the transport connection will give a positive impetus to the development of trade and economic ties and contribute to increasing the mobility of the population.

ZHENIS KASSYMBEK, KAZAKH MINISTER FOR INVESTMENTS AND DEVELOPMENT:

 - In September, we are completing the reconstruction of the road section from Shymkent to the Uzbek border in the direction to Tashkent. It is about an hour drive. There will be the same road as Astana-Burabai, made from concrete, four-lane, the first category road. Passengers who travel by regular bus service must be serviced at customs checkpoints out of turn. The so-called "green corridor" should be provided. Later, the regular flight will have priorities and pass along the "green corridor" without a delay.

Last year, the passenger traffic between the two countries was 8 million people. After the launch of regular flights, this figure is expected to increase to 12 million. The first routes between the two countries will open before the end of this year.

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