U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was in Kazakhstan Thursday to pave the way for American investments in the Central Asian country.

In the first certified U.S. trade mission to Kazakhstan, Ross stressed that he wanted to see the creation of an atmosphere conducive to trade and business that favors the entry of companies from his country in Kazakhstan.

U.S. companies expect "transparency and the rule of law and justice. The success of American companies here can give impetus to further bilateral cooperation and will serve as a signal that Kazakhstan welcomes American companies in its market," Ross told a U.S.-Kazakh business forum in Astana.

He noted that more than 150 American companies currently operate in Kazakhstan and U.S. investments amount to $26 billion, an amount he said could increase if the relevant conditions were met.

Ross was accompanied by representatives of several multinationals, including Velmont, Honeywell and MasterCard, who signed eight cooperation agreements with Kazakh companies that diversify U.S. investment beyond the oil and gas sector.

"The executives of 16 global US companies that came with me to Astana represent not only energy, but also strategic areas such as agriculture, innovative technologies of the future and digitalization," Ross said.

Among the agreements, a cooperation memorandum was signed with Honeywell, a letter of intent to cooperate on a project with the Sierra Nevada Corporation and a memorandum on the implementation of a project to create the National Hydrometeorological System in Kazakhstan with Baron Services.

Regarding the signing with Honeywell, its regional manager in Russia, Alexei Zenkevich, told EFE that the investments would be well rewarded.

"We cannot reveal the amount of investments since we are still in negotiations, but the proposal we made will bring a valuable and rapid return on investment in the project," Zenkevich said.