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Despite the slowdown in economic growth in the UK in recent years, there has been a steady development of bilateral economic relations.
Mutual trade in 2018 experienced a recession (-3.4%) amid general instability in global markets. Trade amounted to $1,244 million (exports: $784 million, imports: $459 million), while maintaining a stable trade surplus, but exports from Kazakhstan to Britain dropped by 18% (imports increased by 27%) .
The trade turnover between Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom in the first half of 2019 amounted to $662.3 million. Kazakhstan's exports to the UK in the first half of 2019 amounted to $439.1 million and increased by 8.5% compared to the first half of 2018. Imports from the UK totalled $223.2 million. Growth in the reporting period reached 1.6%.
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 totalled 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; 504 of them are active. The largest companies, like Royal Dutch Shell and Ernst&Young, are part of the Foreign Investors' Council under the President of Kazakhstan.
Trade and investment cooperation
On 23 October 2019, London hosted the Kazakhstan Global Investment Forum 2019 dedicated to Kazakhstan's business and investment opportunities, the prospects of cooperation in various sectors of the economy and the country's potential to become an important trading partner for the UK after Brexit. The Forum saw the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the QazIndustry Kazakhstan Industry and Export Centre and International Development Ireland Ltd on the assistance in attracting Irish investment projects worth at least 50 billion tenge to the territory of Kazakhstan's special economic and industrial zones and the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Gap Insaat company on the construction of a 350-bed hospital in Aktau using the financing provided by UK Export Finance.
On 23 October 2019, in together with the investment forum, London hosted the 3rd meeting of the Kazakh-British Business Council, during which the Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund signed an Agreement on the Basic Conditions for the Creation of a New Technology Fund with Da Vinci Capital, as well as an agreement on co-investment of projects in the field of renewable energy with EDP Renovaveis.
On 24 October 2019, the Kazakhstan in Focus Day forum was organised in London by Astana International Exchange (AIX), the AIFC exchange. The forum attendees included leading Kazakh companies, as well as more than 30 major international investors.
In addition, the 6th meeting of the Kazakh-British Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation (IGC) was held in London on 24 October 2019 under the co-chairmanship of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Roman Vassilenko and the UK Minister of State for International Trade Conor Burns MP.
The IGC included meetings of working groups on oil and gas, mining, healthcare, education and financial services. The meeting also included the signing of a number of bilateral documents in the field of trade and investment cooperation.
UK businesses operating in Kazakhstan