On August 2, the minister of trade and integration, Serik Zhumangarin, met in Astana with the minister of commerce and industry of Afghanistan, Nooruddin Azizi, to discuss plans to increase bilateral trade turnover from $1 billion to $3 billion, QazMonitor reports citing primeminister.kz.
During the meeting, Zhumangarin noted that 90% of Kazakhstan's exports to Afghanistan are processed products.
“In addition to traditional products such as flour and wheat, deliveries of rolled metal products, mineral fertilizers, rye, and flax have begun. And following the results of the last visit of Kazakh enterprises to Kabul, the first deliveries of our energy drinks, flour products, and mineral fertilizers were made, and there is also interest in sunflower oil," added Zhumangarin.
To intensify cooperation, the Afghan side was offered to use the potential of the Kazakh Trade House in Herat and open its trade representative office in Kazakhstan.
The participants also discussed the possibilities of developing existing and creating alternative routes for supplying goods through Afghanistan. Currently, a 20% discount on the railway tariff is applied for the transportation of grain and flour to Afghanistan through Galaba station in Uzbekistan. However, the Kazakh side noted that tariffs for the transportation of Kazakh grain cargoes through the territory of Uzbekistan are still quite high.
To increase exports of our goods to Afghanistan, we are preparing an alternative and more favorable route through the territory of Turkmenistan. Our railway company has worked out the issue of granting additional discounts of 10% to the already available 30% for the transit tariff through Turkmenistan via the Turkmen-Afghan crossing at Turgundi.
The Kazakh side also touched on one of the problematic aspects of using the Trans-Afghan railway route – the high cost of dry bulk transportation. For this purpose, our ministry appealed to the Afghan side with a request to consider reducing tariffs on Kazakh bulk cargoes to $200.
Regarding investments, Kazakhstan is considering the participation of domestic companies in economic projects being implemented in Afghanistan, especially in transportation, mining, telecommunications, and agriculture. For example, the largest domestic telecommunications company, Kazakhtelecom, signed a contract to supply fiber-optic Internet to Afghanistan on a commercial basis.
Furthermore, Kazakhstan also proposed to increase the number of Afghan students studying at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. The Almaty-based institution currently accepts about 30 students from Afghanistan each year, with a total of 130 Afghan students studying in Kazakhstan.