Kazakhstan and China discuss increasing cooperation

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ASTANA (TCA) — On March 19-20, during a working visit to China, Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Alikhan Smailov met with Vice-Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Han Zheng, Head of the PRC General Administration of Customs Ni Yuefeng and Minister of Finance of China Liu Kun, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

At a meeting with Deputy Premier Han Zheng, Alikhan Smailov discussed topical issues of bilateral cooperation.

The parties noted with satisfaction that the conjugation of Kazakhstan’s Nurly Zhol state program and the Chinese initiative to build the Silk Road Economic Belt allowed the existing Kazakh-Chinese potential to be used in infrastructure development, investment and trade, industry, transport, cultural and humanitarian exchanges.

Alikhan Smailov and Han Zheng agreed on the importance of promoting cooperation in the creation of joint ventures for the production of export-oriented products, and agreed to use the potential of the Kazakhstan-China Cooperation Fund of production facilities for the successful implementation of projects with a high degree of development.

The parties discussed the possibility of establishing strategic cooperation of financial institutions of the PRC with the Astana International Financial Center, and stressed the interest of the parties in successful cooperation. They noted the high rates of development of transport and logistics cooperation between Kazakhstan and the PRC, as evidenced by concrete figures. For example, the railway crossings at the Kazakhstan border (Dostyk-Alashankou and Altynkol-Khorgos) provide 56% of container rail traffic along the China-EU-China route. The projects of the Khorgos Eastern Gate Special Economic Zone and the Khorgos International Center for Border Cooperation are being successfully implemented.

Being co-chairmen of the Kazakhstan-China Cooperation Committee, Alikhan Smailov and Han Zheng agreed to take special control over the practical implementation of mutually beneficial projects for both parties.

In addition, Smailov met with the Head of the General Administration of Customs of China Ni Yuefeng, with whom he discussed topical issues of bilateral cooperation and ongoing projects between the customs services of Kazakhstan and China.

One of the key tasks at the moment is to reduce the level of discrepancies between the customs statistics of Kazakhstan and the PRC, which have been taking place over several years. In the context of this task, the parties agreed on the need for amendments to the Protocol between the Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan and the General Customs Administration of China on methodological and informational interaction in customs statistics of foreign trade, in terms of expanding the information exchanged. The parties also agreed on the need to obtain information from the export declarations of the PRC, and agreed to strengthen cooperation in this direction. In a test mode, one of the checkpoints will provide export declarations online, with its subsequent distribution to other checkpoints, which will ensure the full collection of customs duties and taxes, and will help reduce data discrepancies.

Alikhan Smailov also met with Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun.

At the meeting, the sides discussed the current economic situation of the countries, exchanged views on cooperation in the framework of the One Belt, One Road initiative and the Nurly Zhol program, opportunities for further strengthening cooperation between financial institutions in the field of project and trade finance.

The parties stressed that the dynamics of foreign trade relations with China is largely determined by the implementation of joint projects in Kazakhstan. At the end of 2018, China ranked 4th among the largest investors in Kazakhstan. The main areas of PRC investment in Kazakhstan are transportation and warehousing (share in total investments – 35.4%), mining and quarrying (16.8%), manufacturing (13.1%), construction (12%), financial and insurance activities (14%).

Sergey Kwan

TCA