The Russian authorities have introduced additional customs duties for cars imported from Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries, according to the Ministry of Economy and Commerce of Kyrgyzstan. The ministry says that the Russian government amended the rules of collection, calculation, payment and recovery of the utilization fee for wheeled vehicles and trailers. From April 1st 2024, all citizens importing cars into Russia which were previously customs cleared in the EAEU countries will have to pay an additional utilization fee. This fee is charged for the ecological recycling of the vehicle at the end of its service life. "This approach will avoid situations where citizens and companies importing cars cleared in the EAEU countries receive unjustified advantages compared to car owners doing so in Russia and paying the taxes and fees established by law in full," reads a statement on a Russian government website. The EAEU includes five countries: Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus. The EAEU guarantees a single customs zone spanning the entire territory of these countries, meaning that import and customs clearance for a car in one of the EAEU countries means one can subsequently operate and sell it in any other EAEU country. Until now, Kyrgyz re-exporters of cars - mainly from China - have been successfully exploiting this loophole, as there is no utilization fee to pay when a car is cleared in Kyrgyzstan. As a result, cars imported from China and other countries cleared customs in Bishkek and were then freely shipped to automobile markets in major Russian cities. These cars imported to Russia from Kyrgyzstan are obviously cheaper than cars imported from other countries, including those imported directly by the manufacturer. The leader among countries importing new cars to Russia in 2023 was China, while Kyrgyzstan ranked second, despite the fact the Kyrgyz Republic does not have its own car manufacturing factories. According to Russian customs data, 13,600 cars were imported from Kyrgyzstan to Russia in December of 2023 alone. In total, Kyrgyzstan exported more than 70,000 cars to Russia last year. The so-called recycling fee was introduced by Russia in 2012, when the country joined the WTO. In August 2023, in order to protect Russian car manufacturers, the utilization fee in Russia was increased roughly nine-fold, forcing buyers to search for cheaper duty-free cars such as those imported via Kyrgyzstan.
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Lumacheria Italiana, the global leader in snail production, announced its plans to start industrial production of snails in Kazakhstan. Representatives of the company outlined their plans during a meeting with the Akim of the Zhambyl Region, Dauletkozha Mamyrov. At the meeting it was noted that the Zhambyl Region is located in a favorable environmental and climatic zone, one that's ideal for snail farming on an industrial scale and helps reduce production costs fourfold compared to the world market. The project will make the region the first in Central Asia that hosts snail farming on an industrial scale. Furthermore, representatives of Lumacheria Italiana said they'll be cooperating with the Kazakh company Meragro on the project, and that farming infrastructure be built in several stages. Lumacheria Italiana also expressed its readiness to train local farmers. Investment in the initial phases of the project alone will amount to more than €2,000,000.
Uzbekistan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have signed a loan agreement, this time for lending by the Sustainable Economic and Social Development Support Program in Japan, worth up to ¥37 billion ($246 million). The loan will help the Uzbek government continue its reforms to make the country's economy more market-driven. Its objective is to safeguard social cohesion and stability, encompassing the citizens who are susceptible to fluctuations in financial circumstances. JICA supports enhancing market institutions and the conditions that allow the private sector to flourish -- as well as enhancing state-owned enterprise governance, promoting social inclusion, and promoting sustainability. Moreover, the line of credit contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of poverty eradication, promoting gender equality, work safeguards and economic growth. The Ministry of Economy and Finance is designated as the executive agency of the agreement on the part of Uzbekistan. The loan is provided for a period of 30 years. In January 2022, at a meeting between the Director of the Cultural Heritage Agency of Uzbekistan Shahriyor Nurulloyev and first deputy head of the JICA office in Uzbekistan Yoshimasa Takemura, JICA allocated ¥55.9 million yen ($490,000) to their Uzbek counterparts. Funds were given to preserve and digitize cultural heritage archives and to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the field of cultural heritage preservation.
For the first time since the start of armed clashes on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, business cooperation between the two countries has begun to return. Kyrgyz Energy Minister Taalaibek Ibrayev and his delegation recently visited a pair of Tajikistan's energy facilities, the Rogun and Nurek hydroelectric power plants (HPP), according to the press service of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Energy. Tajikistan's Deputy Minister for Energy Halmukhamadzoda Sobron showed Kyrgyz colleagues how the Rogun HPP is being built, as well as some special underground facilities and tunnels under the plant. Sobron described problems faced by Tajik hydro construction workers when using construction equipment at the site, and detailed the integrated stage-by-stage approach to building the main structures of the hydropower plant. "More than 15,000 hydro construction workers are involved in the construction of the Rogun HPP, more than 300,000 machines and equipment are operated, and skillful planning allows dozens of contracting companies to work simultaneously," Tajik power engineers emphasized. The Kyrgyz side noted that the exchange of experience in the construction of such grandiose facilities will be useful in the construction of Kambar-Ata HPP-1 in Kyrgyzstan. During the three-day visit, Kyrgyz power engineers also visited plants responsible for the production of hydromechanical equipment and for the production of electrical equipment. During the meetings it was emphasized that after the border issue is resolved, the sides are ready to cooperate with each other again on all issues. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are usually connected by high-voltage power lines, which play an important role in the regular supply of electricity to local residents living in the border areas. However, these lines are now out of operation. The problem with the border between the two countries arose after the collapse of the USSR. Essentially both parties claimed land that's rich in water resources, as the issue of agricultural irrigation is very relevant in the arid region. More than 30 years have passed since then, and the parties still cannot agree on the disputed territories. Because of this, conflicts periodically arise between citizens of border villages -- as well as residents of enclaves and border guards of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan -- including with the use of heavy weaponry. The last such conflict took place in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan and Sughd region of Tajikistan in September 2022 -- at which time there were hundreds of deaths on both sides and civilian infrastructure was destroyed. Since May 2021, transportation by land or air between the countries remains closed. Trade and all business contacts have been suspended. To date, the two countries have agreed to demarcate about 90% of the disputed territories. Rogun HPP is a hydroelectric power plant under construction on the Vakhsh River. It is the largest HPP in Central Asia. Construction of Rogun HPP began in the 1970s, but in the 1990s work was stopped due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the outbreak of civil war in Tajikistan. Construction resumed only in 2010 with the support of the World Bank. The first...
In 2023, China became Kazakhstan's top trading partner, relegating Russia to second place. This is according to data from the Ministry of Trade and Integration of Kazakhstan, which summarized last year's foreign trade data. The main importers of Kazakhstani products were China, Russia and Italy. The Russian Federation held the top spot in 2022. The total trade volume grew in 2023 to $139.8bn. Trade with China amounted to $31.5bn, with Russia -- $26bn, with Italy -- $16.1bn, and South Korea and Turkey -- $6bn apiece. Last year Kazakhstan's export markets totaled 135, and the number of traded commodity items was almost 4,000. Crude oil and petroleum products were the top exports ($43.4bn), followed by industrial goods ($9.8bn), non-precious metals ($9.6bn), agro-industrial goods ($5.4bn), ores ($4.9bn), uranium ($3.4bn), and natural gas ($2.1bn). At the same time, Kazakhstan imported equipment and electrical machinery more than anything else ($15.5bn), followed by motor vehicles and auto parts ($7.8bn), non-precious metals ($5.6bn), and food and textiles ($4.8bn each). In 2023 Kazakhstan increased non-resource exports to its East Asian trade partners: to Vietnam by 64%, to Hong Kong by 34%, to South Korea by 30%, and to China by 10%.
A meeting of the Kazakh-German Intergovernmental Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation was held in Berlin on February 16th. It was co-chaired by Kanat Sharlapaev, Kazakhstan’s minister for industry and construction, and Dominik Schnichels, the director for foreign trade policy of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. The meeting discussed bilateral trade and economic relations, cooperation in energy, environment, agriculture and water management, transport, logistics and infrastructure, as well as cooperation in raw materials, industrial and technological spheres, the Kazakh Embassy in Germany reported. Mr Schnichels commented: "To confirm once again the level of Strategic Partnership between Kazakhstan and Germany, constructive and fruitful talks were held at today's meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group, which made it possible to identify specific projects in priority areas.” “The agreements reached today demonstrate that this bilateral platform contributes to improving the framework conditions for further rapprochement of government and business circles, as well as practical promotion of mutual trade and investment. Kazakhstan is a resource-rich country with unique opportunities. Germany is interested in further deepening trade and economic cooperation in the way of the ongoing economic and social reforms in the country.” In his speech, Mr Sharlapaev stressed that the strategic synergy between Kazakhstan and Germany, together with a convenient geographical location at the crossroads of intercontinental transport routes, including energy supply routes, strengthens Kazakhstan’s position as a regional investment hub and one of the key players in the global energy arena. "The development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (Middle Corridor) is of great importance for Kazakhstan as a reliable supplier of energy resources and strategic goods to Europe,” he said. “Strengthening Kazakhstan's industrial potential is also among the strategic areas of cooperation with Germany."