Wien, 26. September 2013 Press release

Spindelegger: Important step towards opening Kyrgyzstan’s export market

Successful negotiations on bilateral agreement for investment protection

Vienna, 26 September 2013 – Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger welcomed the agreement between Austria and Kyrgyzstan on the promotion and protection of investment that was concluded after lengthy negotiations at the Foreign Ministry yesterday. “We aim to intensify our economic relations with Kyrgyzstan, but this requires reliable investment protection for Austrian investors and entrepreneurs. The investment protection agreement marks an important step towards facilitating the involvement of Austrian companies in this country that offers such great potential”, Spindelegger said.

Austrian exports to Kyrgyzstan have been growing continuously over the past few years and amounted to € 12.4 million in 2012 (+27.9%); and from January to June this year, the export growth rate exceeded 50%.

“Kyrgyzstan has large reserves of natural resources and the Kyrgyz Government is greatly interested in attracting foreign investors in the framework of its national development plan”, Spindelegger said. The Foreign Minister underlined in this context that the agreement not only takes account of the concerns of Austrian companies, but also specifies that investments by foreign companies must be made in a responsible manner complying with international standards of human rights, labour and environmental protection as well as international anti-corruption standards.

The negotiations at the Foreign Ministry were conducted on the basis of an Austrian sample text compiled in a highly participatory process with the involvement of social partners and academic experts; the text is considered to be exemplary in European and international comparison. The investment negotiations were held in parallel to the 5th meeting of the Austrian-Kyrgyz Mixed Commission at the Austrian Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth, and an event discussing the economic and investment potential offered by Kyrgyzstan held at the Austrian Economic Chamber.

Bilateral investment protection agreements protect Austrian investors abroad from disadvantages compared to local and third-party investors as well as from expropriation without compensation. This is of particular importance for small and medium-sized companies that venture to take a step abroad. Such protection agreements also include the option of referring disputes not only to national courts, but also to international arbitration.

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