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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev Photo by Haim Zach (GPO)
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev

14 December 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)


After his meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Wednesday, 14 December 2016), met with Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev. They addressed a joint Israeli-Kazakh business forum in which businesspeople from both countries participated in order to encourage investment in Israel and boost bilateral trade. Israel views economic relations as a main anchor between the countries. Attending the forum is an Israeli business delegation, which has joined the Prime Minister, composed of over 70 representatives from Israeli companies in the fields of homeland security, renewable energy, agriculture, water, health and medicine, and finance. The representatives will hold commercial meetings with potential Kazakh companies.


Prime Minister Netanyahu:


"Thank you all for coming here. We have a great opportunity. I think our two countries can do great things together.


Now, there are 200 Israeli companies in Kazakhstan, some of them are represented here. I understand that there are some deals that have already been made. This is the most important thing – to make things move rapidly. Everything has to move rapidly because things are accelerating globally and so when we talk about direct flights – that's a business stimulator; When we talk about a free trade zone with Kazakhstan and four other countries – that's a business stimulator; When we talk about reducing barriers to competition – this is a business stimulator. I have to tell you that when we look at our, if I can tell you about our economic policy, it was to remove barriers to competition as much as we could and we still have a long way to go.


So Israel has done great things in start-up companies, some of them are here; in technology. But the greatest business opportunity we have is our bureaucracy because we can still cut it and when you cut it, business grows. And we have a lot to cut, we still have to de-regulate but bureaucracy is like a boot, a heavy boot on a coiled string and when you remove the boot the string lifts and gives you a few percent of GDP growth for nothing, nothing, just let them work. Let these men and women do their thing. So this is our job as governments, this is my job. It's an endless job but one that has great rewards because all we have to do is stop interfering. They do the rest.


This is one thing that has happened. The second thing that I think was crucial is this and we had an opportunity to talk about incentives: there is no more distinction between high technology and low technology. There's no more distinction. Everything, every single thing is now becoming technologized. And it's becoming technologized in a variety of ways, most dramatically by the intersection of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence. But there are other ways as well. This affects agriculture, water management, solar energy, security, cyber-security, and every other kind of security in every field. Technology is seeping everywhere. Those who will have the advantage are those who will develop technology and apply it. The future belongs to those who innovate.


We pride ourselves as the innovation nation. We have to continue this trend but we also can do it by having partner with you and you can benefit and seize the future by partnering with us. We are interested in every one of the projects that you enumerated Prime Minister, and many more. And we think that yes, G2G is critical because of our bureaucracies and we need it. B2B and B2G is critical as well. I'm glad to see that it's developing, it's happening as we speak. But I think that there is a tremendous opportunity here, tremendous opportunity.


We admire what has been done here in Kazakhstan. We see the cities. They didn’t exist for all intents and purposes 20 years ago and we see the potential of what can be. And I may add one other thing that I think is important to say in this day and age: I think it's a welcome message to all of humanity when you see Kazakhstan, a Muslim country, and Israel, a Jewish country in such great friendship cooperating for the future of our peoples. I think it's an example for the region and for the world of how things can be and will be. And in this spirit, I want to thank President Nazarbayev for his friendship, it’s a consistent friendship and I want to assure you that you will be welcome in the next business conference with equal friendship in Israel. So we have to see you next year in Jerusalem."