Cooperation with far abroad countries

Country priorities within international relations development of Astrakhan region are primarily due to its geographical position. Given the location on the Caspian Sea, the Astrakhan region Government tries to maintain historical relations and develop new contacts, primarily with the Caspian States. In addition, in the last few years in the framework of the region’s foreign policy the Astrakhan Government has set focal areas for enhancing the existing relations with certain countries in Europe and Asia, as well as establishing new contacts and partnerships.
The intensity of the development of international and external economic contacts of Astrakhan region is evidenced by the fact that the region hosts a Russian MFA representation office, Consulate General of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Consulate of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Consulate of Turkmenistan as well as an Honorary Consulate of the Slovak Republic.
Among foreign countries the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the main trade partners of the region. Over the past few years, Iran's share in the total volume of foreign trade in Astrakhan region has been the largest. From year to year the number of enterprises with Iranian investment is increasing, currently standing at about 175 companies.
The first contacts between Astrakhan region and Iran at the interregional level were established in the 90-s. In 1993-1994 the region established bilateral relations with the provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran, in 2000 with Golestan, Hormozgan in 2004, Horasan and Isfahan in 2005, Ardabil and East Azerbaijan in 2009 and Houzestan in 2010. Over the years, Astrakhan region and the above-mentioned provinces of Iran have signed more than 20 agreements and protocols, covering various aspects of bilateral trade and economic and humanitarian cooperation. In 2014 within the framework of the IV Caspian Summit, held in Astrakhan, a meeting between Governor Alexander Zhilkin and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani was held. Russian-Iranian representative forums, attended by the high-ranking officials from both countries, are regularly held in Astrakhan region. In October 2017 Iran’s Trade House was inaugurated in Astrakhan, destined to cement Russian-Iranian trade relations. 14 Iranian provinces will have representation offices with the Trade House.
Cooperation with the People's Republic of China is also dynamically evolving. In 2008 an Agreement was signed between the Government of Astrakhan region and the People's Government of Henan province on trade and economic, scientific and technical as well as cultural cooperation. Partnership relations with other Chinese regions are also gradually developing.
On the European track the region maintains official and business contacts with Slovakia, Greece, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and a few others.
Astrakhan-Slovak cooperation appears to be the showcase among any other bilateral contacts the region has had. With the aim of enhancing trade and economic relations with Slovak partners an Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic was appointed to Astrakhan in 2009. In 2012 a Protocol on economic cooperation between the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic and the Government of Astrakhan region was signed. Bilateral contacts and projects with Slovakia involve both economic and humanitarian spheres, culture, education and science in particular.
Cooperation with the Republic of Greece, which began in 2010, is also dynamically developing. Regular contacts with Greek partners take place in Astrakhan region at both the interregional and business levels. Recently cooperation with the province of Central Macedonia, whose representatives regularly visit Astrakhan region, has been initiated.
Thanks to the official contacts cooperation with Greek partners in the agricultural sphere is currently ongoing (intensive type gardens, hydroponic greenhouses, cotton fields). In this regard, the first trial planting of Greek seedlings of stone-fruit crops was successfully undertaken, which cropped well in 2016 and 2017.
Contacts between Astrakhan region and German partners are also being promoted. The exchange of business missions, continued cooperation with the Karl Osse German Charity Society and its founder and permanent Chairman, Honorary citizen of the city of Astrakhan Mr. Wolf Bauer all contribute to further strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.
The regional authorities are set to continue to develop contacts and projects with the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Berlin, which in recent years has undertaken a number of activities, both in economic and humanitarian spheres: large-scale presentation of the region and its economic and investment potential,  “Lotus” SEZ, Days of Culture of Astrakhan region in Berlin, presentation of publishing projects in the region and other activities, designed for Russian expats residing in Germany.
In the economic sphere, the region prioritizes efforts, aimed at stepping up cooperation with German partners, first and foremost, with engineering companies and the German Association of Shipbuilding and Marine Equipment, destined to promote the region among German investors to become residents of the “Lotus” SEZ.
In an effort to expand contacts with the economically developed European countries, among which Italy ranks high, Astrakhan region has recently intensified previously initiated relations with Italian regional partners and business community thereof. Cooperation between Astrakhan-based shipbuilding plant "Krasniy Barricady " and Italian "Rosetti Marino Spa" for the joint execution of orders of the Italian “Agip” group of companies from 2010 to 2015, cooperation with MTS Sandei SRL, Rossi Catelli, Gaspardo in the agricultural sector, as well as numerous implemented projects in the sphere of culture can truly be named successful cooperation stories.
The region maintains business contacts with Dutch partners in such areas as shipbuilding and agro-industrial production, the two sides continue joint projects and investment cooperation including in the “Lotus” SEZ.
There emerged new prospects for cooperation with countries situated in the Asian region, particularly with Japan and South Korea, which have shown continued interest in starting business in Astrakhan region. A presentation of Astrakhan region in the Embassy of South Korea in Moscow was thus the beginning of business relationship between South Korean business community and the Government of Astrakhan region and “Lotus” SEZ, willing to see more South Korean companies as residents in its territory.
Today the regional government mulls over starting cooperation with Gulf countries, particularly with Bahrain and Oman.