On November 27, Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov met with Ding Xuexiang, First Vice Premier of the State Council of China, in Astana. The parties discussed project cooperation in trade, investment, industry, energy, agriculture, transportation and logistics, and culture, QazMonitor reports citing primeminister.kz.
The Prime Minister noted that at present, the bilateral trade turnover between the two countries shows dynamic growth. Last year, trade experienced a 35% increase and reached $24.2 billion in volume.
"In 10 months [of 2023], mutual trade has grown by another 24%. I believe that at this pace we will soon be able to achieve the goal of increasing trade turnover to $40 billion, outlined by the heads of two states," said Smailov.
He commented on the visa-free regime, which came into effect earlier this year on November 10.
This measure will significantly affect the stimulation of business contacts, trade facilitation, increase in mutual investments, and tourism development. This is especially relevant in light of the upcoming 'Year of Tourism of Kazakhstan in China.'
Furthermore, the Kazakh side expressed interest in the list of joint industrial projects and investment cooperation, with particular attention paid to signing the Roadmap for the implementation of the Program of trade and economic cooperation until 2026, as well as updating the Agreement on mutual inspection of import-export goods.
In addition, Kazakhstan is looking forward to increasing trade turnover in agricultural products, increasing exports to China, and realizing joint processing projects in the field of the agro-industrial complex.
Smailov stressed that about 85% of goods from China to Europe are transported through Kazakhstan. So far, both countries have reached an agreement to increase the capacity and working hours of vehicle checkpoints on the shared border. The Nur Zholy–Khorgos checkpoint began to work in a round-the-clock mode, while other border controls have switched to a 12-hour 7-day working schedule.
"Due to digitalization and automation of processes, the time of border crossing has been reduced. It is important to continue working in this direction," added Smailov.
The Kazakh side also urged to continue the work on increasing the number of flights between the countries and the realization of major projects in the energy sector. This includes the expansion of the capacity of the Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline, the modernization of the oil refinery in Shymkent, and other projects.
China and Kazakhstan are close neighbors, true friends and partners. At present, both countries are at a key stage of their development and revival. Against the backdrop of unprecedented changes, China and Kazakhstan are facing more complex challenges. Therefore, in the spirit of cooperation, we should strengthen mutual support on all key issues. The Chinese side will continue to firmly support Kazakhstan and all efforts aimed at development and prosperity.