Former U.S. secretary of state James Baker, honorary chairman of the U.S.-Kazakhstan Business Cooperation Council, and Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev opened April 12 a Council roundtable in Almaty. The conferees announced that U.S. investment in Kazakhstan has grown to an impressive $1.5 billion in the oil and gas sector, while bypassing most other sectors. Nazarbayev called for greater U.S. investment in the telecommunications, transport, and food processing sectors. Baker and other U.S. representatives predicted continuing investment growth while suggesting improvements in Kazakhstan’s economic legislation in order to speed up Congressional ratification of a bilateral agreement on avoiding double taxation. The session, as did Nazarbayev with Baker afterward, also discussed access problems which limit Kazakhstan’s oil exports to international markets through the Russian pipeline system. (Interfax, Xinhua, April 12)
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