Kazakh-British relations


On 19 January 1992, diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the UK were established.

The British Embassy in Kazakhstan opened in October 1992.

Since February 1996, the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan has operated in the UK.

Since February 2017, HE Mr Erlan Idrissov has been Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Court of St James's.

Since January 2018, HE Mr Michael Gifford has been the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Political relations

Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom have established a constructive dialogue that is facilitated by regular visits at all levels.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the President of Kazakhstan, HE Mr Nursultan Nazarbayev, made nine visits to the UK (1991, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2012, 2013 and 2015).

Members of the British royal family who have visited Kazakhstan include: heir to the British throne, Prince Charles of Wales (1996); Princess Anne (1993); the Duke of Gloucester (2000); Prince Andrew, former Special Representative for Trade and Investment (2003, 2006, 2007 and 2010); and Prince Michael of Kent (2009).

On 30 June – 1 July 2013, UK Prime Minister HE Mr David Cameron paid the first state visit in the history of bilateral relations, which resulted in a Joint Statement on the Strategic Partnership.

On 17 October 2014, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev held a meeting with UK Prime Minister David Cameron on the sidelines of the ASEM summit of European and Asian leaders in Milan, Italy.

On 22-24 February 2015, Mr Karim Massimov, the then Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, visited London. During his visit, Mr Massimov participated in the Global Law Summit and held a number of meetings with British ministers, political figures, and representatives from the business community.

On 2-4 November 2015, at the invitation of the British side, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan HE Mr Nursultan Nazarbayev paid the first official visit to the UK in 10 years (apart from the visit during the 2012 Olympics). During the visit, the Kazakh President held bilateral meetings with the UK's top officials. The second meeting of the Kazakh-British Intergovernmental Commission took place, and bilateral agreements on the implementation of joint projects worth about $9 billion were signed.

On 4 September 2016, the first meeting of President Nazarbayev and the new UK Prime Minister Theresa May took place on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou (China).

On 19 October 2018, President Nazarbayev met with the UK Prime Minister May on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels.

Inter-parliamentary relations

In June 2017, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Kazakhstan resumed its work (the group's work was suspended due to the general elections held on 8 June 2017). The APPG is chaired by the Rt Hon Bob Stuart.

In October 2016, a delegation of the APPG paid an official visit to Astana. During their visit, UK MPs held a number of meetings with representatives from Kazakhstan's Parliament; the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan; as well as and other heads of ministries and agencies.

On 30 May – 2 June 2018, the APPG delegation headed by Bob Stuart visited Kazakhstan again. The delegation held a number of meetings with the leadership of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the head of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the leaders of the NurOtan and Ak Zhol political parties.

Trade and economic relations

Despite the slowdown in economic growth in the UK in recent years, there has been a steady development of bilateral economic relations.

Trade between the two countries between January and September 2018 was valued at $964.2 million, a 0.2 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2017. Exports totaled $0.7 billion, and the value of imports was $0.4 billion.

Thus, the United Kingdom continues to be in the top ten largest trade partners of Kazakhstan in terms of trade turnover. It is also one of the six largest investors in Kazakhstan. Over the past 13 years, UK investment in Kazakhstan totaled more than $13 billion.

Primary export materials include non-ferrous metals; ferroalloys; chemical products; coal; crude oil and oil products; and cereals. Import materials include cranes; engines; industrial equipment; electrical equipment; optical and medical devices; medicines; aircraft and repair parts; steel structures; chemical products; and antiques.

More than 800 British legal entities are registered in Kazakhstan. Royal Dutch Shell and Ernst&Young are included in the Council of Foreign Investors under the President of Kazakhstan.

On 8 October 2018, the fifth meeting of the Kazakh-British Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation was held in Astana. The next meeting of the IPC is scheduled for 2019 in London.

To promote cooperation in the digitisation sphere, on 24-27 April 2018, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Mr Askar Zhumagaliyev paid a working visit to the UK.

Regarding investment promotion, on 29 April – 2 May 2018, a Kazakhstan delegation led by Kazakh Invest CEO Mr Saparbek Tuyakbayev visited the Kazakh Invest 2018 business conference and held talks with the UK's officials and business executives.

Taking into account the increase in business activity and the interest shown by British companies towards various sectors of the Kazakh economy, on 2 October 2018, the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the UK, together with Kazakh Invest and Samruk-Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund, held the Kazakhstan Global Investment Forum 2018 in London. The Kazakhstan delegation was headed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Mr Askar Zhumagaliyev.

Cultural and humanitarian co-operation

In 2001, the Kazakh-British Technical University was established in Almaty. The university partners with four leading UK universities in the petroleum sector: Aberdeen, Robert Gordon, Herriot-Watt, and Westminster.

In 2014, Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom signed a MoU on the Newton-Al-Farabi partnership programme, worth £12 million. The programme provides support to joint innovative and scientific research projects. Financing is carried out on a parity basis.

Nazarbayev University has been implementing a programme for preparation for university education and establishing the School of Engineering supported by University College London. With Britain's support, a scientific library was opened at the NU Centre for Energy Research in 2012. The facility offers scholarships to train NU Research and Innovation System staff.

Currently, more than 300 Kazakh students are studying at UK universities as part of the Bolashak scholarship programme.

Legal co-operation

There was a significant breakthrough in judiciary cooperation between Kazakhstan and the UK in late 2014. Lord Faulks, the then UK Minister of State for Civil Justice and Legal Policy visited Kazakhstan, while Kazakhstan's Prosecutor General, Mr Askhat Daulbayev, visited London. As a result of these visits, a MoU between the Office of Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan and the UK Ministry of Justice was signed. The aim of the MoU was to establish a Joint Consultative Committee.

Joint effort from both sides has resulted in the signing of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, as well as a number of interdepartmental co-operation agreements between the Office of Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan, the UK Ministry of Justice, and the National Crime Agency. These were signed during the official visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to the UK in early November 2015.

Created at : 15.01.2019, 11:50, Updated at : 15.01.2019, 11:50