The United States has prioritized two areas in its relationship with Kazakhstan, “stability and sovereignty,” said the U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan,Daniel Rosenblum during a roundtable discussion at the Caspian Policy Center’s DC office on January 4th. The Caspian Policy Center (CPC) is an independent, nonprofit think tank based in Washington D.C., with its central research focus on economic, political, energy and security issues in the Caspian region.
Ambassador Rosenblum highlighted the “tremendous progress” made between the United States and Kazakhstan in recent years, and addressed the future direction of the U.S.-Kazakhstan bilateral partnership, as reported in the CPC’s press release.
Rosenblum said he sees the United States heading in two directions: “One is maintaining that level of engagement. Having another leader-level meeting … And I know that because Kazakhstan is quite interested and pushing us to commit the same thing at the next UNGA …. hopefully, that can happen and then it becomes a sort of a tradition.” The second direction, Rosenblum added, is to see that “substantive commitments… get realized, and then grow into other things.” Specifically, the Ambassador highlighted the proposed B5+1 meeting, “which is sort of a private sector parallel structure [to the C5] of business associations and U.S. businesses.”
The Trans-Caspian trade corridor, or so-called “Middle Corridor,” is an “economic priority for the government [of Kazakhstan] and for us as well,” the Ambassador noted. “The key challenge to developing the Middle Corridor and making it a viable alternative is to increase the speed of goods moving and to lower costs,” he specified, adding that such coordination, “will require the countries of the region to cooperate and harmonize their standards and their procedures for the movement of goods.”
Ambassador Rosenblum added that the United States has remained committed to financing these strategic infrastructure projects in Kazakhstan. “Our foreign direct investment (FDI) numbers were healthy as there was another $5 billion of new FDI [invested in Kazakhstan] in 2023,” said the Ambassador. “We are still the number two source of FDI [in Kazakhstan] after the Netherlands.”
The Ambassador also said that Kazakhstan has made a visible effort to comply with U.S. and international sanctions on its traditional trade partner, Russia. “Since the sanctions were first imposed, back in 2022, Kazakhstan’s record is a good one, both in terms of their ability to prevent sanctions evasion and, also, making sure that they’re complying with all the sanctions when it comes to their domestic companies, relationships with Russian companies, Russian banks, and so on,” Rosenblum said.