efe-epaAstana

The United Arab Emirates agreed Tuesday to boost investment in Kazakhstan's petrochemical industry and relax visa requirements for Kazakh visitors.

The agreements were hammered out during talks between Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov and his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and during a UAE-Kazakh business forum held in Astana to coincide with the sheikh's official visit.

Under the agreement, the UAE's Mubadala Development Company and Kazakhstan's United Chemical Company will construct a multi-billion-dollar chemical complex in the western region of Atyrau to produce some 800,000 tons of polyethylene per year, Deputy Energy Minister Magzum Mirzagaliyev told EFE.

Several foreign national wealth funds seeking long-term, capital-intense investment, like Mubadala, have shown growing interest in Kazakhstan since the former Soviet republic's government approved a national privatization plan 17 months ago to put about 700 large state-owned enterprises on the block over the next few years.

Sheikh Abdullah, meanwhile, announced that in the spirit of improved bilateral business and cultural ties, Kazakh citizens would now enjoy visa-free entry into the Arab nation for 30 days, similar to Kazakhstan's visa regime with the UAE.

"I believe that the number of Kazakh tourists and businessmen will increase after this step. And it will impact cooperation and investment between our countries," Sheikh Abdullah said in a joint press conference with Abdrakhmanov.