The year 2018 has been declared the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan. Political, commercial and economic and other links between the two countries has recently regained momentum following a series of important summit meetings of our two countries’ presidents.
It is a relationship founded largely on an agreement on the main directions of trade and economic cooperation, which was signed on September 22, 2016. That bilateral instrument involves the establishment of a network of trading houses which would benefit both parties and manage the sale of oil and petroleum products, as well as goods of electrical engineering, machine building, car-making, pharmaceutical and agrarian industries on the Kazakh and Uzbek markets.
To do so, it is planned to arrange cooperation links between the Baiterek national holding company and the National Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Uzbekistan. Coordination of bilateral efforts is envisaged to complete works on preparation of production and start large-unit assembly of passenger cars, buses and agricultural machinery through Kazakhstani and Uzbek enterprises, such as Asia-Auto, KazKioti, SamAuto and GM Uzbekistan.
Kazakhstan ranks third among Uzbekistan’s main trading partners after China ($4.50 billion) and Russia ($3.65 billion). In that context, we would like to draw attention to the fact that 8.7 per cent ($2.35 billion) of this country’s foreign trade is with our republic. In comparison with 2016, Kazakhstan’s exports to Uzbekistan grew by 35 per cent, amounting to $1.3 billion in 2017. Import to Kazakhstan from Uzbekistan increased by 25.1 per cent, amounting to $ 735.2 million during the same period.
Kazakhstan’s main exports to Uzbekistan are wheat and meslin, wheat-rye flour and wheat flour, semi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steel, concentrated nonferrous materials and ores, as well as unwrought aluminum.
At the 17th meeting of Kazakh-Uzbek Intergovernmental Committee on trade-economics collaboration, on March 14, 2018, the parties expressed their satisfaction at the pace of development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, and considered it necessary to undertake measures to bring about an intensification of these processes. They agreed to take further concerted measures to ensure the growth of trade turnover to $3 billion in 2018 and to $5 billion by 2020.
Attention should also be paid to the fact that since April, regular passenger rail services have also been launched along the Samarkand-Astana route.
The Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan relationship is unquestionably the most important bilateral relationship within the Central Asian region. As these two countries are the largest nations and economies in the region.
Dispatch News Desk, in an article entitled “Uzbek, Kazakh bilateral railway traffic increases 44% in first two months of year 2018”, said: “The first quarter of year of 2018 has recorded historic increase of bilateral economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. According to available data, the growth of mutual volumes of cargo transportation was 8 per cent in 2017, amounting to more than 20.5 million tons while cargo traffic volumes has increased by 44 per cent compared to the same period of 2017 during the first two months of year 2018. Amazing increase in bilateral trade and connectivity is result of recent meetings of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyev. During the two major business forums held in 2017, commercial agreements worth more than $ 1 billion had already been signed. An agreement was reached to continue joint work to create a technical opportunity for transit supplies of Kazakh gas through the territory of Uzbekistan to the south of Kazakhstan”.
The Government of Uzbekistan is also seeking to expand cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) of which Kazakhstan, Russia, Belorussia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are members. It is harmonizing its import tariffs with EAEU norms. That is indeed a timely response to integration processes in the post-Soviet region. It would provide new opportunities for the expansion of trade in goods between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.