• KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01126 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09196 0.77%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 3

Kazakhstan: A Rising Global Player in Trade and Diplomacy

Over the past decade, Kazakhstan has become an increasingly important land-bridge between East and West, both in terms of trade and diplomacy. A vast nation the size of Western Europe with powerful neighbors in the form of China and Russia, yet on the doorstep of Europe with access to the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan’s location has elevated it to the cusp of becoming a global power. Given its geography, it is reasonable to assert that many decisions in Kazakhstan are, out of necessity, the result of a geopolitical tightrope act necessitating a balanced and far-reaching policy outlook. This strategic position has been described by Ariel Cohen, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Eurasia Center of the Atlantic Council, as a “visionary multi-vector policy pioneered” by President Tokayev. Indeed, “mutually beneficially cooperation” and “mutually beneficial strategic partnership” have become watchwords of Tokayev’s presidency. Due to projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Middle Corridor, Kazakhstan’s location has made it an indispensable ally to China. Playing a pivotal role in the expansion of transcontinental trade has led the whole of Central Asia to, in the words of Tokayev, “become a global stakeholder.” Trade turnover between Kazakhstan and China continues to expand, reaching $31.5 billion in 2023 (a 30% increase on 2022), and new transit routes are continuously under construction, with the Bakhty-Ayagoz railway line set to lead the opening of a third border crossing with China and increase the throughput capacity between the two nations from 28 million to around 48 million tons. Both cultural and political ties continue to grow, with a 30-day visa-free travel regime coming into force in November 2023. As for the total amount of Chinese investment in Kazakhstan over the past eighteen years, estimates vary from $23.2 to over $36 billion. Even these huge sums, however, are dwarfed in comparison to the Netherlands, which, in the last five years alone, has invested a colossal $33.8 billion in Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, according to Kazakhstan’s Bureau of National Statistics data for January to December 2022, Italy was Kazakhstan’s largest exporter, accounting for 16.4% of exports worth $13.9 billion during this period. The strength of this partnership was evinced by President Tokayev paying an official visit to Italy in January 2024, during which he held talks with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and spoke about the two nations’ “dynamically” developing relationship and its “enormous potential”. As a block, the EU is Kazakhstan’s biggest overall trading partner, the destination for 39% of total exports and accounting for 29.4% of its total trade in 2021. Through initiatives such as the C5+1 and the B5+1, meanwhile, the United States has increasingly sought to engage with Central Asia, and with Kazakhstan in particular. With investment totaling $19.4 billion, the U.S. ranks second in terms of foreign investment over the past five years. A driving force behind this engagement has been the huge untapped reserves of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) located in Kazakhstan. According to the Brookings Institute, whilst China is the dominant player in...

Kazakhstan’s Trade Policy Makes It a Nexus of Eurasian Supply Chains

Kazakhstan's foreign-trade priorities have markedly evolved in response to global market demands and geopolitical shifts. Historically, the country has relied on its neighbors, particularly Russia, for trade and economic security. However, in recent years, it has been strategically diversifying its trade partners to leverage its geographical position and resource wealth more effectively in the global market. This wealth includes significant reserves of oil, natural gas and minerals. In 2023, Kazakhstan's trade turnover broke a historical record and reached $139.8 billion. Top exports include crude petroleum, gold, refined copper, ferro-alloys, and copper ore. The strategy of diversification enhances Kazakhstan’s sovereignty and economic stability, providing support for President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's multifaceted reform programs. These reforms include, among other things, increasing workers' salaries, reducing corruption, abolishing capital punishment, and decentralizing the government. In his state-of-the-nation address, Tokayev announced a transition to a new economic model involving further de-monopolization and diversification of the economy. The recent realignment of Kazakhstan's trade relationships is marked by China's ascendancy over Russia as the country's principal trading partner. This development in turn reflects regional trade dynamics and underscores broader geopolitical and economic trends within Central Asia. In 2023, yearly trade turnover between Kazakhstan and China surged 30% to $31.5 billion. This growth is emblematic of deepening economic ties and expanding trade routes across Eurasia, Asia, Africa, and Europe. China's investment in Kazakhstan, especially in infrastructure and energy sectors, is a critical factor in this ascendancy. China has invested $36.7 billion in Kazakhstan’s economy in the last 17 years, with two-thirds of this (or $25.2 billion) invested in the power sector. Approximately half of the investments are in oil and gas, while the rest are mainly in mining and ore processing, machine manufacturing, energy and food production. The partnership between Kazakhstan and China offers Kazakhstan significant economic growth opportunities, but necessitates careful navigation of its relationships with both China and Russia. President Tokayev is keenly attentive to balancing economic benefits with the need to maintain sovereignty and avoid over-dependence on a single partner. Russia's yearly trade turnover with Kazakhstan fell 3.7 percent to $26 billion in 2023. This decrease reflects the broader economic challenges and the volatility that Russia faces, impacting its capacity to engage in foreign trade at previous levels and pushing Kazakhstan to seek reliable and economically beneficial partnerships. This shift in trade dynamics illustrates the ongoing realignment in the geopolitical landscape of Eurasia. China's emergence challenges Russia's historical influence in Central Asia. Kazakhstan's enhanced cooperation with China reflects a strategic alignment and a hedging strategy against over-reliance on any single country. China's higher profile is not the only significant characteristic of Kazakhstan's evolving trade policy. Kazakhstan is actively expanding its trade relationships beyond its traditional partners to include countries in Europe and the Middle East. Italy has become Kazakhstan's third-largest trading partner, with a turnover of $16.1 billion in 2023, underscoring Kazakhstan's efforts to diversify its economic connections and enhance its trade portfolio with European nations. This growth highlights the potential for increased trade in goods...

Bridging East and West: Kazakhstan’s Changing Foreign Policy in the 2020s

In the wake of significant geopolitical and social change, Kazakhstan has been noticeably reassessing its official and economic relations with foreign powers. Formerly a part of the USSR, Kazakhstan has positioned itself since the collapse of the bloc in 1991 as a country with a triangulated approach to foreign relations. This means that it attempts to maintain cordial relationships with both of its powerful neighbors, Russia and China, whilst also improving relations with countries in the West. Now, this multi-vector foreign policy appears to be shifting as Kazakhstan re-evaluates its priorities in a world that has seen both a global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.   Russia Kazakhstan is allied with Russia in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), but this relationship was put under strain even prior to Russia’s war in Ukraine. In a memorable speech from September 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his view that “Kazakhs never had any statehood,” and that their desire to align themselves more closely with Russia was “profound.” These statements caused Nursultan Nazarbayev, then President of Kazakhstan, to threaten to remove his country from the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a bloc largely dominated by Russia. This threat was not acted upon, however, and Kazakhstan remains a member to this day. Nonetheless, it was an indication of cooling relations long before the current global state of affairs, and a precursor to a shift in how Astana sees Kazakhstan being positioned on the world stage in future. Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022, Kazakhstan’s foreign relations have taken an ever more decisive turn. While Astana does not officially support international sanctions against Russia, citing the knock-on effects these sanctions create for Kazakhstani businesses - Russia remains a strong trade partner and a key part of Kazakhstan’s supply chain for land-based trade due to their long, shared border - it has nevertheless complied with them. This purely economic reasoning for not officially supporting international sanctions places Kazakhstan at odds with Belarus, which is an example of a former Soviet state that remains allied to Russia and whose leader, Aleksandr Lukashenko, derided by many as a dictator, has been vocal in his support of Russia’s political actions, allowing Belarusian territory to be used to further Russia’s strategic goals in the war against Ukraine. In sharp contrast, Astana has made it clear that it will not allow Russia to use Kazakh territory in an attempt to circumvent international sanctions. In an effort to avoid incurring secondary international sanctions due to its ties with Russia, Kazakhstan has invested in an electronic monitoring system, launched in spring 2023, for goods purchased from Western countries passing through its territory for re-export to the EAEU. This system tracks goods until they reach their final destination, thus aiming to prevent foreign players who wish to help Russia evade international sanctions through this method, known as “parallel imports”. In October 2023, Kazakhstan also halted the export of over 100 products to Russia (including drones, military equipment,...

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