Kazakhstan-China cooperation under One Belt, One Road initiative discussed in Astana

ASTANA (TCA) — A Kazakh-Chinese business forum dedicated to the 5th anniversary of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative took place on September 7 in Astana with the participation of about 400 representatives of business communities of the two countries, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

The forum considered specific directions of investment cooperation between Kazakhstan and China within the framework of the One Belt, One Road program.

The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev opened the forum, addressing the participants with a video message.

“Cargoes from Europe to China via Kazakhstan are delivered in about 15 days. At the same time, shipping by sea would take from 4 to 6 weeks. Logistics and accompanying routes are being established. There is a joint program for cooperation in the field of industry and investment. It implements 51 Kazakhstan-Chinese investment projects for more than $27 billion. This is a sign of investor confidence and evidence that Kazakhstan pays special attention to improving the investment climate,” the President said.

“There is the Foreign Investors’ Council under the President of Kazakhstan, where the Chinese company CNPC has an active role. It is an important strategic partner of Kazakhstan in the development of the oil and gas market. Kazakhstan is carrying out a large-scale campaign to privatize large state-owned enterprises. Major shares of the mining and metallurgy, oil and gas industry, energy, transport and communications, infrastructure and other sectors are put for sale. In addition to direct privatization, we are preparing cooperation on the principles of PPP,” Nazarbayev said.

The Chairman of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping also addressed the participants of the forum through a video message, noting that the One Belt, One Road initiative was born in China, but the opportunities and fruits given to the whole world.

“Five years ago, during my first visit to Kazakhstan, accompanied by President Nazarbayev at Nazarbayev University, I first voiced the initiative to build the economic belt of the Silk Road, which began to attract broad attention of the international community and enjoy a great positive response,” Xi Jinping said.

According to him, over the past five years, trade between China and countries along the Silk Road has amounted to more than $5 trillion.

“More than 80 zones of trade economic cooperation with the participation of Chinese companies are established along the One Belt, One Road. Over 200,000 jobs were created. In total, more than 100 countries and international organizations signed documents on cooperation with China. Political coordination among the countries participating in the One Belt, One Road is constantly on the increase. Large-scale trade and economic projects are being intensively implemented, an infrastructure network is being formed,” the Chinese President said.

Speaking at the forum, Kazakh Minister for Investment and Development Zhenis Kassymbek said that Kazakhstan intends to significantly win as a geographical center of the land part of the New Silk Road, which creates new opportunities for trade and industry.

“Experts estimate that the rapid revival of the Silk Road and large investments in infrastructure for the next decades foreshadow the revival of Kazakhstan as a shopping center in Central Asia. This is facilitated by the successful implementation of the Nurly Zhol State Program for Infrastructure Development, initiated in 2014 by President Nursultan Nazarbayev,” said Kassymbek.

The minister also spoke about implementation of a number of major projects. So, for five years a number of large-scale infrastructure projects were commissioned: the port of Lianyungang; dry port of Khorgos on the Kazakh border with China; Aktau port on the Caspian Sea; a new railway corridor Kazakhstan–Turkmenistan–Iran with a length of about 900 km, connecting the countries of Central Asia with the Persian Gulf and the port of Bandar Abbas in the south of Iran; the international transit corridor Western Europe– estern China, part of which passes through the territory of Kazakhstan. The measures taken allowed to deliver goods from China via Kazakhstan to Europe in about 15 days, while shipping by sea takes 2-2.5 times more.

Today China is one of the leaders in terms of bringing foreign direct investment in the Kazakh economy. Over the past 10 years, more than $15 billion has been invested by China in Kazakhstan projects. Trade between Kazakhstan and China in 2017 increased by more than 30% and amounted to $10.5 billion.

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Times of Central Asia