Information has emerged that the EU is considering Central Asia as its closest future partner in terms of relocating its industrial enterprises and logistics. Thus, Europe, primarily Germany, plans to relocate 300 enterprises to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, there have been requests for the placement of European enterprises in Kyrgyzstan. As they say in Kazakhstan, 50 have already “received a residence permit.”
According to experts, supply chains are being redrawn due to the blockade, sanctions, and changes in global trends to move the economy to Asia.
The main attention is focused not only on the Chinese program “One Belt – One Road”, but also on the program “North-South” – trans-Caspian routes. This is one of the routes of the future that the European Union is paying attention to,” political scientist, director of regional programs at the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies Yuri Solozobov told Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
The expert drew attention to the fact that Annalena Burbock did not come alone, but with a large delegation of businessmen and specialists in the field of energy and infrastructure. Interaction with Kazakhstan will take place according to the “raw materials in exchange for technology” scheme.
“The primary topic of negotiations in Astana was the supply of rare earth metals, which are essential for the new technological economy of Germany and the EU as a whole. Now the main supplier is China. Dependence on China has become critically dangerous for the European Union. Kazakhstan will become an alternative. high-tech structure and technologies. Germany is ready to provide everything necessary,” Solozobov said.
According to the political scientist, the European Union considers both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which Burbock visited on November 1, as potential sites for its production, including consumer goods. “Today, the process of relocation of European manufacturing enterprises, primarily German ones, to the territory of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan is underway. More than 300 enterprises are being prepared for the transfer. As President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said the other day, 50 of them have already received a new residence permit. There will also be considered sites in Uzbekistan,” Solozobov believes.
The advantages, according to him, are primarily in cheap labor, the availability of local raw materials, including petrochemicals, fertilizers, and metals. And finally, in the vicinity of consumer markets. “There are free trade agreements within the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as within the CIS free trade area. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will be able to supply parallel import products directly produced in their territories. And supply them not only to the Russian market, but also to growing markets Central Asia and neighboring countries – Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and others. 350-400 million people is a significant market for the future expansion of the European Union,” Yuri Solozobov stressed.
He also said that a few years ago, together with Kazakhstani analyst Marat Shibutov, he conducted a study on demography and economics among the CIS countries. At the same time, attention was drawn to the fact that in the post-Soviet space only two countries are critically important and significant – these are Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. They have a growing demographic, a growing economy, and programs for future industrialization. These countries are promising both for the transfer of economic development enterprises there, and as a potential labor market. It is no coincidence that Germany is going to conclude an agreement in the labor market with Uzbekistan. Citizens of this country will not have to go to work in Russia, they will be able to find a job at home. “This is a reason for Russia to start working more effectively in the Central Asian direction” concluded the political scientist. The same applies to infrastructure projects. German companies are ready to provide their technological and management teams to manage Kazakh and Uzbek enterprises. The process is already underway.
At the final press conference in Astana, Annalena Burbock said that a joint decision had been made to open a “hydrogen diplomacy” office in the Kazakh capital. “With the help of green hydrogen, we want to reduce emissions from industry and transport to zero. And at the same time protect the well-being and development of people in our countries,” Annalena Burbock told reporters