The head of state took part in the plenary session of the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on the theme "New World - New Opportunities".
Along with the leader of Kazakhstan, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi also spoke at the plenary session via videoconference. In addition, President Xi Jinping sent a video message to the forum participants.
In his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed his gratitude to Vladimir Putin for the invitation and the traditionally warm welcome.
He noted that over a quarter of a century, the St. Petersburg Forum has deservedly acquired the status of an authoritative expert platform, taking its rightful place among the world's discussion platforms.
The head of state stressed that the forum is being held in a situation of heightened political and economic turbulence.
“Global upheavals associated with the pandemic and the growth of geopolitical tensions have led to a new reality. Globalization has been replaced by the era of regionalization, with all its advantages and inherent disadvantages. Be that as it may, the process of reformatting traditional economic models and trade routes is accelerating. The world is rapidly changing. Unfortunately, in most cases, not for the better,” the President said.
In his opinion, in the conditions of the new reality, it is important to take into account the rapidly changing structure of the world order, including the change in stable vectors of interaction along the East-West and North-South lines.
“It is important for the countries of our region not only to find the right answers to all these challenges, but also to try to make the most of them. Therefore, we will have to consistently realize the full potential of cooperation within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. An urgent task is to pair Eurasian integration with the Chinese concept of "One Belt, One Road," the Head of State believes.
In his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev spoke about the large-scale political and economic reforms being carried out in the country aimed at rebooting the state administration and building a New, Fair Kazakhstan.
“Our efforts are focused on ensuring that economic growth has a proportional impact on improving the well-being of citizens. We are aimed at the sustainable development of trade and economic relations, the opening of new industries, the creation of conditions for the growth of human capital and the introduction of innovations,” the Head of State said.
According to Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, for the sustainable development of all countries in the region, it is necessary to define new horizons for cooperation and form future points of growth for our economies. At the same time, he added that one should always remember the most important task - ensuring international and regional security.
Based on this, the leader of Kazakhstan drew the attention of the participants of the event to a number of important points.
In particular, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called strengthening the potential of the Eurasian Economic Union an urgent task.
“The total volume of the economies of all the states of the Union is now more than 2 trillion dollars. It is a huge market with free movement of goods, capital, services and labor. Despite the pandemic and geopolitical upheavals, cooperation within the Union continues to consistently strengthen. The volume of mutual trade last year reached a maximum for the entire period of the Union’s functioning and amounted to about $73 billion, which is a third more than the previous year,” the President said.
The head of state stressed that Russia is a key trade and economic partner of Kazakhstan within the framework of the EAEU.
“Last year, the mutual trade between the two countries grew by almost a third and reached more than $24 billion, which is a record figure for us. This year, the positive trend continues. In my opinion, it would be appropriate and useful to develop a new trade strategy within the EAEU, taking into account the new reality.
Instead of counter-sanctions, which are unlikely to be productive, a more active and flexible trade policy should be pursued with a broad coverage of the markets of Asia and the Middle East. Kazakhstan could play a useful role here as a kind of "buffer market". In general, the ultimate success of Eurasian integration largely depends on the effectiveness of our common trade strategy,” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said.
Along with this, the Head of State noted good prospects for bringing industrial cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia to a qualitatively new level. He announced his readiness to provide Russian investors with industrial sites with the appropriate infrastructure and create favorable conditions, which, in principle, is already being done.
Much attention in the speech of the President was paid to ensuring food security. According to him, the full implementation of the agricultural potential of the two states is of particular relevance in the current realities. In this context, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev cited FAO data, which states that Russia and Kazakhstan occupy leading positions in the world in terms of the provision of agricultural land.
“This fact is of particular relevance in the light of deteriorating global food security. Supplying the population with high-quality and safe food products remains a paramount task and a factor in maintaining internal stability. To create a reliable food system, it is important to introduce innovative solutions and advanced technologies, to reduce food losses. Approaches to ensuring food security should be developed both at the national levels and within the framework of regional associations, including the EAEU, taking into account the needs and interests of all participating States. Without coordinated work, it is difficult to count on achieving the set goals in this extremely important area. In other words, the fight against exorbitant inflation and food shortages is our common task,”
Another priority task Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called the further expansion of trade and economic cooperation with third countries.
“Kazakhstan, being an active participant in integration processes, invariably favors mutually beneficial cooperation with other international organizations. On the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Forum, the theme of the formation of the Greater Eurasian Partnership is being discussed with interest. It is assumed that this concept will be oriented, among other things, to the creation of a common space for equal cooperation of regional organizations. Therefore, Kazakhstan maintains a positive attitude towards the process of creating the Greater Eurasian Partnership,” the President said.
This year Kazakhstan chairs the Commonwealth of Independent States. According to the Head of State, the successful experience of the long-term functioning of the CIS in difficult geopolitical conditions clearly proves the effectiveness of the instruments of multilateral dialogue.
“I believe that the CIS can become the most suitable base for the implementation of such a megaproject. At the same time, the SCO, ASEAN, the EAEU could become an integral part of the Greater Eurasian space,” the leader of Kazakhstan said.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also did not rule out the prospect that in the coming decade, traditionally friendly countries such as China, India, the states of the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, could become major investors in the economies of the countries of the region.
“China has already become the main economic and foreign trade partner of Kazakhstan. This country has already invested more than $22 billion in our economy over the past 15 years. Therefore, deepening multilateral cooperation with China is an extremely important task for our country,” the President said.
At the same time, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced the need to strengthen direct ties between business structures and build new transport and logistics corridors.
“Joint efforts to create a pool of breakthrough innovative and technological projects, continuous transport and logistics chains, and ultimately, the formation of new opportunities for the growth of the global economy look promising,” the Head of State noted.
In his speech, the leader of Kazakhstan also touched upon issues related to climate change. In particular, they discussed plans to expand opportunities for the growth of "green" investments and solve environmental problems.
“Last year, due to low rainfall and shallow water on the rivers, many of our farmers were seriously affected by the drought. The transboundary river Ural (Zhaiyk) is in critical condition. I believe that such long-term challenges to the sustainable development of our states should be addressed jointly. I think we should seriously consider the prospects for introducing the principles of the "circular economy". We are working to reduce the energy intensity of GDP, expand the renewable energy sector and reduce transit losses in this industry. The similarity of economies, industrial and infrastructure ties between the two countries, and geography itself dictate the need for joint efforts in this strategically important area as well. I hope that together we will be able to develop effective approaches and concrete measures for significant progress in this direction,” the President said.
Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev also named high-quality human capital and constructive intercultural dialogue as reliable sources of economic growth.
In this context, he reaffirmed the continued commitment to the policy of preserving the cultural diversity of Kazakhstan and promoting inter-civilizational dialogue at the international level. The head of state announced the forthcoming Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in September this year and welcomed the participation of religious figures from Russia in this forum.
Summing up his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed his conviction that building a peaceful, stable and economically strong Eurasia will become a powerful factor in sustainable development and inclusive growth on a global scale.
“I am sure that such an authoritative discussion platform, bringing together top-class experts, has great potential for finding productive ideas aimed at normalizing the international situation and returning the world economy to positive dynamics,” the Head of State concluded.
After the speeches of the speakers, an open discussion took place in the question-answer format.
President spoke about the recognition of the DPR and LPR
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum spoke about the recognition of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) .
“Different opinions, our society is open. Modern international law is the UN charter. But two UN principles came into conflict - the integrity of the state and the right of the nation to self-determination. And as soon as these principles contradict each other, there are different interpretations,” said Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
If the nation's right to self-determination is realized, then more than 500 states will appear on earth, and there will be chaos, he noted.
“For this reason, we do not recognize either Taiwan, or Kosovo, or South Ossetia, or Abkhazia. Apparently, this principle will be applied to quasi-state associations, which, in our opinion, are Luhansk and Donetsk,” the Head of State said.
By the Kazakhstanskaya Pravda