ALMATY, Kazakhstan — The participants of the 2nd Friendly Dialogue of Cross-Border Cooperation between Kazakhstan and China on March 28 agreed to strengthen bilateral economic relations. The forum was held in Almaty as part of the official visit to Kazakhstan of Ma Xinzhui, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, secretary of the CPC Party Committee of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, the Kazakh Ministry of Trade and Integration reported.
“The heads of state [of Kazakhstan and China] pay considerable attention to the development of comprehensive cooperation. This year, the initiative “One Belt, One Road” turns 10 years old. During this period, our partnership has reached a new qualitative level. Positive dynamics is observed in all areas of cooperation. Today there are 3,300 joint ventures operating in Kazakhstan in such strategic sectors as the mining and metallurgical complex, manufacturing and others,” Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Trade and Integration of Kazakhstan Serik Zhumangarin said, opening the forum.
The key region traditionally connecting the countries is Chinese Xinjiang, which accounts for more than 40% of the total trade turnover between Kazakhstan and China. Meanwhile, the two states have a huge potential for expanding trade and economic cooperation.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister, Kazakhstan is ready to offer the Chinese buyer a wide range of industrial and agricultural products for 135 commodity items worth over $1 billion. In particular, Kazakhstani enterprises can supply chilled meat products, fish products, poultry meat and offal, pork, eggs, horse meat and other types of high-margin goods to China.
“For this, it is very important to eliminate restrictions on the export of Kazakh meat products to China related to animal diseases. The World Organization for Animal Health recommended confirming the status of five southeastern zones of Kazakhstan free of foot-and-mouth disease with vaccination,” Zhumangarin addressed the representatives of the Chinese delegation.
“Kazakhstan is ready to increase the volume of annual wheat supplies to China to 1 million tons and above. There are infrastructure opportunities for this, among other things. I have given instructions on the pilot direction of one grain train to the bonded zone of the People’s Republic of China,” Zhumangarin informed the participants of the event and proposed to create a Subcommittee on Agriculture between Kazakhstan and China to promptly resolve issues of mutual trade.
At the cross-border cooperation forum, the parties discussed ways to improve the efficiency of checkpoints, logistics centers and transport infrastructure along the border.
Currently, measures are being taken to modernize the trade infrastructure and the border control system at the ICBC Khorgos and the FEZ Khorgos – Eastern Gate. Transit directions are developing, including within the framework of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route. In 2022, the volume of cargo transit by rail in Kazakhstan increased by 1.1 million tons and amounted to 9.4 million tons. Transit traffic by road from China has doubled and amounted to 980.6 thousand tons.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister-Minister of Trade and Integration of Kazakhstan, in the port of Lianyungang, together with the Kazakh–Chinese logistics terminal, the necessary base has been formed for the unhindered transit of goods. To create favorable infrastructure conditions, it is planned to build a trade hub in Urumqi and Almaty. In addition, the third railway crossing between Kazakhstan and China will be opened in the area of the Bakhty (Kazakhstan)–Chuguchak (China) automobile checkpoint.
The event was attended by akims (governors) of Almaty city, four border regions of Kazakhstan (Abai, Zhetisu, Almaty, East Kazakhstan) and representatives of XUAR, as well as business delegations of the two countries. In particular, more than 150 Kazakhstani entrepreneurs, 20 leading Xinjiang businessmen, 10 representatives of large Chinese investment enterprises present in Kazakhstan took part in the forum.
On the sidelines of the forum, bilateral negotiations in the B2B format were held between Kazakh and Chinese entrepreneurs in various sectors of the economy: construction, energy, mining, agriculture, food industry, mechanical engineering, and tourism. 16 bilateral documents were signed, including 5 commercial ones worth $565.4 million.
In 2022, trade between Kazakhstan and China reached $24 billion. Exports of Kazakh products to China increased by more than a third and exceeded $13 billion. Imports increased by 33.5% and amounted to $11 billion.
Kazakhstan exports oil, copper and copper cathodes, copper ores and concentrates, natural gas, ferroalloys, uranium, sunflower oil to China. Telephones, computers, electric generator sets, ferrous metal products, tires, parts and accessories for cars and tractors, road and construction equipment, and cars are imported from China.