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Ambassador Marantis Completes Trip to Astana, Kazakhstan

On the second day of his visit to Astana, Kazakhstan, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis met with Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov, Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov, Minister of Agriculture Asylzhan Mamytbekov, Minister of Economic Integration Zhanar Aitzhanova, Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov, and Chairman Umirzak Shukeyev of Samruk-Kazyna.

Ambassador Marantis reiterated the strong support of the United States for Kazakhstan to complete its WTO accession process by the end of this year. He reviewed with key ministries the tremendous progress Kazakhstan has made in the past several years. The U.S. and Kazakhstan signed a bilateral goods trade agreement in November of 2010, and a bilateral services trade agreement in September of 2011. Both sides are accelerating work on remaining multilateral issues in the run-up to Kazakhstan's July 2012 meeting of its WTO Working Party.

Ambassador Marantis also had wide-ranging discussions with his counterparts on ways to increase bilateral trade and investment between the two countries as well as improve regional integration. An important aspect of these discussions focused on the U.S.-Kazakhstan bilateral working group, established under the U.S.-Central Asia TIFA. The working group is the primary forum for bilateral trade and investment discussions between the two countries.