SANYA, BOAO – During his official visit to China last weekend, President Nursultan Nazarbayev held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping to advance ties on a wide range of issues of strategic partnership, and addressed the 12th session of the Boao Forum for Asia.
The two leaders discussed a range of issues of bilateral cooperation and strategic partnership. The Kazakh President congratulated Xi Jinping on his election as President of China.
Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that Kazakhstan appreciates the cooperation of the two countries in the framework of international organizations and, in particular, said Kazakhstan supports China’s intention to take presidency in the CICA for the period of 2014-2016 years.
In turn, Xi Jinping thanked Nursultan Nazarbayev for his “outstanding contribution” to the development of Kazakh-Chinese relations.
The two leaders also noted the continuing growth of bilateral trade. At the end of 2012, it increased by 12.5% to $24 billion. Noting a much larger potential for further growth, the two leaders spoke of the need to bring the trade to 40 billion dollars by 2015.
In addition, during the meeting they discussed the aspects of cooperation in the transport sector, cross-border collaboration and other relevant topics.
Speaking to Kazakh reporters after his meeting with Chinese President and within the Boao Forum, the Kazakh President emphasized that Kazakhstan received China’s support on the most pressing issues for the country, primarily the division of water resources.
According to Nazarbayev, the two leaders have agreed that the issue of using the cross-border rivers will be resolved through negotiations within a specially created working group.
Another agreement was reached on the exports of Kazakh wheat to China, and the joint creation of an agrarian structure which can be used to implement the best practices in the field of plant breeding and crop production.
Nazarbayev said bilateral cooperation in the field of transport and communications, where the most important project is to use the Pacific port of Lianyungang, would be further developed. The sides addressed the issue of allocation of land for its construction. At that, President Nazarbayev stressed the importance of Kazakhstan’s access to the Asia Pacific region. These and other topics will be considered in detail during the first visit of the newly elected President of China to Kazakhstan in the first half of 2013.
Raw materials in exchange for technologies
China supports Kazakhstan on the mechanism of cooperation which can be termed as “raw materials in exchange for technologies.” Chinese companies has invested heavily in Kazakhstan’s oil sector, implementing such important projects as the construction of a bitumen plant in Aktau, the construction of a complex of aromatics hydrocarbons at the Atyrau refinery and the upgrading of refineries in the cities of Atyrau and Shymkent. As expected, this will provide more advanced processing of oil. In general, around 10 joint projects, the total cost of which is $ 5 billion are under implementation in the oil and gas sector.
Another four major joint projects with a total value of over $18 billion are being implemented in the area of energy resources’ transportation. In particular, CNPC confirmed their plans to complete in October the construction of the Bozoy-Shymkent pipeline which is of great importance for the southern regions of Kazakstan.
At the meeting between Nursultan Nazarbayev and Zhou Jiping, CNPC chairman, the sides discussed working out a comprehensive cooperation plan in the oil and gas industry, based on the principle of “access to raw materials in exchange for investment in oil service and refining projects.”
Following the meeting, the national oil companies of the two countries signed an agreement on the basic principles of cooperation on the expansion and operation of the Kazakhstan-China pipeline.
Also, the Samruk Kazyna National Welfare Fund and China’s Committee on Promotion of International Trade reached an agreement to establish the Kazakh-Chinese Business Council. And there is an intention to expand the investment activity in non-oil sector of Kazakhstan. For this purpose Samruk Kazyna and the CITIC Group signed an agreement, as well as a Roadmap for strengthening economic and investment relations.
The means of a specially created investment fund in the amount of 200 million dollars are to be used for the projects in the field of engineering, logistics, petrochemicals and construction materials.
China will help Kazakhstan in developing alternative energy: the Chinese Government will provide an experimental batch of solar batteries with the power of 1 MW for the Free Economic Zone “Park of innovation technologies” and wind power farms with capacity of 5 MW in the Shelek corridor.
The topic of this year’s Boao Forum was consistent with the spirit of one of the world’s most important platforms of public diplomacy: “Innovation, Responsibility, Search for Common Development in Asia.”
Speaking at the opening of the dialogue platform, Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that the relevance of the Forum is reinforced by the fact that Asia with its main industrial potential is the region of particular importance.
“Today, the center of economic activity, which sets the tone for the world markets, has moved there. I am convinced that the next step will be the establishment of Asia as a key source of ideas and models of development and the international agenda, not only in economics but also in many other areas,” he said.
Nazarbayev described the Kazakh model of development based on integration into the world market and the development of a strong economy of an innovative type. The President noted that due to the stable political situation and effective anti-crisis measures, during the recent global financial crisis Kazakhstan kept a high growth rate and prevented a jump in unemployment.
Last year, Kazakhstan’s GDP grew by about 6 percent, while the unemployment rate stayed below six percent. Gross international reserves reached almost $90 billion.
Kazakhstan is promoting high-tech industries carrying out modernization: there are projects in the field of “green technologies”, alternative energy and energy saving.
“We are open for investments in deep processing of oil and gas resources, production of fertilizers, in non-ferrous metals, logistics and other industries,” Nazarbayev said. “Our republic is involved in the restoration of the ‘Silk Road’, creation of the Western Europe – Western China transport corridor. This work will be completed in 2015. The capital of Kazakhstan Astana was chosen as the venue for EXPO 2017 with the subject ‘Future Energy’.”
Heads of government, heads of international organizations, prominent businessmen and academics including director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates and others, participated in the Forum. The total number of participants exceeded 3,000 people.
Reduce risks and combine efforts
In his remarks at the forum, Nursultan Nazarbayev emphasized that the success of each country contributes to the general welfare of the continent. But in order to multiply the effect of interaction, the countries of the world need to coordinate actions. In this regard, the Kazakh President drew the forum’s attention to a number of key steps to be taken to achieve these goals.
First, he called for strengthening the integration trends in Eurasia, as more than 50 percent of the world production and two-thirds of the world population is concentrated there. According to Nazarbayev, it is therefore necessary to develop communications’ infrastructure, stimulate trade and mutual investment. Important directions also include energy partnership, innovations and educational exchange.
The President reminded the participants of the establishment of a Single Economic Space of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus which, connecting east and west, is a natural land bridge between a five hundred million market of the EU and half billion market of China.
Nazarbayev also said the world economy, more than ever, needs to expand cooperation between the countries of Asia, especially in the fields of transport, alternative energy and agriculture.
Meetings at the Forum
President Nazarbayev used the opportunity of the event to converse with the heads of other states and leaders of international organizations.
Meeting with President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, he sides discussed the state of bilateral relations and topical international issues. The Kazakh President noted the potential of development of Kazakh-Mexican partnership, particularly in areas such as tourism, oil industry and agriculture. An agreement was reached to deepen bilateral cooperation in a wide range of issues.
The head of state also met Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah Darussalam. The two leaders considered important aspects of interaction, regional integration in the framework of existing international institutions, such as ASEAN and the EEA. The parties showed interest in expanding partnership in the petroleum and chemical industries, agriculture and other areas.
Nursultan Nazarbayev urged business people from Brunei to participate in the diversification of Kazakhstan’s economy and in preparing the international exhibition EXPO 2017 in Astana. The President also invited Hassanal Bolkiah to visit Kazakhstan.
In addition, Nazarbayev also met director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, and chairman of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic.