Kazakhstan celebrated Italy's "Festa della Repubblica" (Republic Day) on Thursday by discussing business relations between the countries. The Italian Embassy in Astana organised an event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Italian republic at the Rixos Hotel that was attended by many politicians and representatives of Italian and Kazakh companies. Guests included Rakhim Oshakbayev, former Deputy Minister of Investment and Development and Timur Zhaksylykov, Deputy Economy Minister. Ambassador Stefano Ravagnan said: "The results achieved by our bilateral relations have been remarkable despite the difficulties during this period. We recorded a 10 percent growth in Italian exports, mainly due to construction and machinery, a factor which means that our companies are contributing to the diversification of the country’s economy." He said important agreements had been signed on agriculture and livestock and that an Association of Italian-Kazakh businessmen was established in Almaty, which could become a basis for opening an Italian chamber of Commerce in Kazakhstan. He went on: "The flow of direct investment from Italy has totaled 6 billion dollars since 2005 and there are over 200 companies backed by Italian capital operating in the Caucasian country."