Business risks

Australian companies are advised to spend time investigating the market, obtain professional advice where appropriate and thoroughly investigate the issues in entering the market and before establishing business relationships.

Australian firms wishing to operate in this market should commit to the highest level of corporate behaviour and familiarise themselves with Australia's laws and penalties pertaining to bribery of foreign officials.

Bribery of foreign public officials is a crime. Australian individuals and companies can be prosecuted in Australia for bribing foreign officials when overseas. Further information on the regulations governing bribery of foreign public officials is available.

For further information on frauds, scams, personal and asset security, intellectual property protection and other business risks please read more about legal issues.

Intellectual property protection

Kazakhstan is a signatory to most major international agreements and conventions on intellectual property, but it should be noted that the practice of intellectual property enforcement in Kazakhstan lags behind international norms. A number of laws and regulations govern patents, trademarks and copyrights, although the overall concept of intellectual property is relatively new.

Enforcement of intellectual property rights may still be problematic. While the situation is improving, it is important to discuss strategies for protecting your intellectual property with lawyers and other specialists.

The State Patent Agency (Kazpatent) is main state regulatory body in this area.

Dispute resolution

While the Kazakh court system is generally considered burdensome and time-consuming, court decisions are honored by businesses. Commercial arbitration systems are starting to develop for alternative dispute resolution.

Many companies doing business in Kazakhstan draw up contracts under the legal framework of a third country such as the United Kingdom or Switzerland. This ensures a more reliable legal framework and potential access to a reliable court system (although this can be extremely costly).