By Claire West

Sir Andrew Cahn, Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), has accompanied Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on a visit to Kazakhstan to meet with UK investors and increase trade links.

As Kazakhstan seeks to diversify its economy from oil and gas, it is becoming an increasingly valuable trading partner for the UK, with exports to the country reaching £225 million in 2009.

This trade is in a wide range of sectors from energy to minerals, banking, consulting and financial services. There are also strong educational tie-ups between schools and universities in both countries.

Sir Andrew Cahn said:

“The relationship between Kazakhstan and the UK goes from strength to strength, and we remain a major investor in the country's oil and gas sectors.

“That is why the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and I will be meeting the major UK investors in Kazakhstan in the margins of the OSCE summit in Astana, and holding a Business Round Table to support the interests of British companies and to encourage Kazakhstani companies to see the opportunities they offer.

“The UK has so much expertise to share, not only in the oil and gas sector, but in others such as financial services, and I want to see this shared more widely to improve long-term stability and maintain a competitive but cooperative business environment.”

More than 100 companies in Kazakhstan are either fully UK-owned or have British connections. These include household names with strong international investments such as British Gas, AMEC, Shell, HSBC and Arup.

In the UK, there are now five Kazakh companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, which are Kazakhmys, Kazakhgold, Kaxkommertsbank, ENRC and KazMunaiGas Exploration and Production.

Whilst he is in Astana, Sir Andrew will also be attending the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) with Nick Clegg, which looks at security issues across all 56 participating states.