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The first official visit by Kazakhstan’s President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, to China resulted in ten major intergovernmental partnership documents and several commercial agreements.
During the visit, on September 11 to 13, the new President of Kazakhstan held talks with President Xi Jinping, met Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese leaders.
Commenting on the political outcome of the visit, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister, Beibut Atamkulov, drew attention to the statement of the two Presidents where they commit to developing a “permanent comprehensive strategic partnership”. According to the Minister, this means good neighborliness, respect for each other's national interests and joint facilitation to the regional security.
“This is a historic visit, it continues the tradition of meetings at the highest level, initiated by the First President Nursultan Nazarbayev,” the Minister explained in an interview to “Kazakhstanskaya Pravda”, a daily.
Economic agenda occupied a significant part in President Tokayev’s visit, including his meeting with the founder of the internet giant “Ali Baba”, Jack Ma, and a session of the Kazakh-Chinese Business Council.
Mr. Tokayev called on Chinese businesses to actively explore a transcontinental cargo corridor between Asia and Europe offered by Kazakhstan. “Five international railway routes and six major motorways pass through Kazakhstan. They connect China and other Asian countries with Europe and the Middle East. This allows delivering goods to Europe from China through Kazakhstan and vice versa just in 15 days, whereas maritime shipping takes two to three times longer,” the President emphasized.
Minister Atamkulov emphasizes that the further construction of the 21-century Silk Road is of particular importance for Kazakhstan. “From a practical point of view, thanks to the construction of transport corridors together with China, we have opened direct and quick access to the markets of all of Eurasia at once. That is, we got immediate access to three world oceans - the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian,” he said.
Overall, according to Minister, the opportunities for economic cooperation with China are virtually unlimited. “China is a ready-made market where one needs to be able to work. Our government creates all the necessary legal conditions for this. A number of documents signed during the visit to Beijing are aimed at this. ” He named the protocols on inspections, quarantine and veterinary sanitary requirements for dairy products, wool, linen, which are being exported from Kazakhstan to China.
“Kazakhstan has every opportunity to become a major supplier of organic food ... Meat consumption is growing steadily in modern China. This opens up opportunities for livestock breeding - from increasing the number of livestock to producing meat and processing it for export,” the Minister added.
China is the third-largest trading partner of Kazakhstan (after the EU and Russia), as well as the third-largest foreign direct investor (after the EU and the USA). The trade turnover between Kazakhstan and China in 2018 amounted to $12 billion. Over the past twenty years, Chinese companies have invested about $ 20 billion in Kazakhstan.