By Askar Beshimov
Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic in Seoul
In 2017 we celebrate the significant date the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Korea. For the last years of fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation we have achieved significant results.
Past period was very fruitful for the development of the Kyrgyz-Korean relations. Thus, the visits of the President, Speaker of the Parliament and leaders of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to the Republic of Korea (the Prime Minister, the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs etc.), and held the 1st and 2nd meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee on Economic Cooperation in Seoul gave an additional impetus to inter-state cooperation.
After 2010 the country moved from the presidential to a parliamentary form of government and today virtually all areas of the economy are transparent and controlled by the Parliament. Now we also have important political processes to strengthen statehood. Thanks to the assistance of the Korean side, we have significantly strengthened the electoral process and continue to improve the system of issuing biometric identification cards to the citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Kyrgyzstan is a small country that has no access to the sea. However, since ancient times being on the Silk Road this problem does not prevent us to trade with Europe and Asia at the same time. Being in the center of the continent - Kyrgyzstan is a transit point for all routes between Asia and Europe. No access to cheap transportation by sea should not scare potential investors. This is offset by an attractive investment policies, transparent legislation, inexpensive labor, and many other factors and prospects. The desire of Kyrgyzstan to join the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus will open up new opportunities and markets to Korean and other foreign businessmen.
The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic has a policy of continuous improvement of the investment climate by reducing bureaucracy, improving the legal framework to combat corruption and stabilizing the economy.
Kyrgyzstan - a country with great potential, given the abundant natural resources in the depths of Kyrgyz land, favorable geographic location with a mild climate. The potential development of new industries, agriculture and tourism is high.
Kyrgyzstan supplies to the world market electricity, gold, cotton fabrics, wool, wood, tobacco, antimony, mercury, etc. The country imports energy resources, oil, fossil fuels, coal, fertilizers and other chemical products, machinery and equipment, transport vehicles and parts, household appliances, etc.
Promising areas of the economy of the Kyrgyz Republic for investments are hydropower, mining and gold mining Industry (Kyrgyzstan occupies third place in the world for the production of mercury and 10th place for the sale of gold), the construction of housing stock, services, tourism, telecommunications, agriculture and textile.
The Kyrgyz Republic has a number of laws and regulations that promote and protect foreign investment in the Kyrgyz Republic. Foreign investors are free to take out hard currency income from investment activities.
In addition to the guarantees of protection and the measures taken by the current Government, the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic provides a range of legal mechanisms that can be used by investors to further strengthen the protection of their investments in the Kyrgyz Republic.
To date, the Kyrgyz Republic is a party to bilateral agreements for the promotion and protection of investments with more than 30 countries, including with countries such as the USA, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, China, South Korea and the United Kingdom. If citizens or companies of countries which have concluded an agreement with the Kyrgyz Republic on the promotion and protection of investments, investing in the Kyrgyz Republic, they are granted additional guarantees and privileges provided for in the agreement.
In the Kyrgyz Republic legislation provides several options for investors that can minimize the risks associated with the instability of the legal regime and corruption in the judiciary. Under the Civil Code , the foreign investors at the conclusion of various agreements ( investment agreements , loan agreements, purchase and sale of shares in , goods and services, etc. ) are eligible for an agreement with the other party to the contract provides for the application of the treaty, and their relationships , arising under the contract, the law of any foreign state.
Kyrgyz legislation also provides to foreign investor the right to seek protection in the courts of foreign states or arbitration, thereby giving them the opportunity to choose the most preferred legal authority to resolve the dispute. As noted above, even in the absence of a specific agreement to arbitrate if the rights of foreign investors from countries with which the Kyrgyz Republic has signed an investment protection agreement have been violated, the investor has the right under the agreement to go to international arbitration.
Trade regime of the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the most liberal in the CIS countries. At that Kyrgyzstan's WTO accession in 1998, much enlivened foreign economic relations of the country. As a result, the government has made a commitment to reduce tariff rates.
The Kyrgyz Republic - the agro-industrial country. Agriculture - the leading sector of the economy that creates about 40% of gross value added and employs more than half of the workforce. The share of agricultural land is 53.9% of the total territory of the republic. The main branch of agriculture is crop production (growing corn, cotton, tobacco, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables, melons and gourds).
Kyrgyzstan has significant deposits of minerals such as mercury (1/5 of world reserves), antimony, gold (12 large fields), and coal (the third largest reserves in the CIS). Her bowels contain oil, gas, volostanit, shale oil, iron ore, non-ferrous and rare earth metals, platinum, facing stone, sulfur, sand and gravel deposits. A promising direction is the development of hydropower resources.
In the priority of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic creation of new jobs, and we understand that without investors that purpose we do not realize it. Therefore, at present in the country are carried out reforms aimed at improving the investment climate and infrastructure development.
The dialogue between our two countries began, and we would like him to continue on. In particular, we need to build partnerships in the economy, increase the flow of investment. We are very interested in the presence of Korean business in Kyrgyzstan, which in turn will allow them to gain access to the markets of China and the Customs Union. In addition, we are extremely interested in obtaining low-interest loans from Korea. Korea is known at the beginning of the development, use of the mechanism and as we see now very successful.
Personally, I and the staff of the Embassy ready to provide possible assistance in improving relations between the business communities of the two countries. I want to assure you that any person will receive the necessary information. I urge Korean corporations and businesses to consider the possibility of doing business in the promising market of Kyrgyzstan.