Economic News in Brief

– “For eight months of the current year, the turnover of the East Kazakhstan region with the countries of the Customs Union (CU) amounted to $900 million,” Berdybek Saparbayev, Akim (Governor) of the East Kazakhstan region, said at a Sept. 26 media briefing. “Last year’s trade with the CU countries reached $1 billion; over the eight months [of 2014] it is $900 million. This union gives us the opportunity to increase the volume of trade. Most important is the decline in imports, increase in exports; that is, the trade balance has to be at its net balance,” he said. According to him, over the first eight months of this year, the total turnover was 333 billion tenge ($1.83 billion). “We hope that by the end of the year, this figure will be higher,” he stressed. The consumer price index in the East Kazakhstan region after eight months was 105.4 percent.

 

– On Sept. 25, First Deputy Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev met with head of the EU representative office in Kazakhstan Aurelia Bouchez and representatives of the diplomatic missions of 19 EU countries and presented the main provisions of the formation and functioning of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The parties also exchanged views on the development of the EEU, including the establishment of the EEU Court, the formation of common markets, the ratification of the EEU Agreement, the possible joining of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, as well as potential cooperation between the EEU and the European Union. Following the meeting, the sides noted that Kazakhstan and the EU are strategic partners and expressed readiness to expand cooperation.

 

– At a Sept. 23 meeting of the government, measures proposed by the Ministry of National Economy to optimise and improve the effectiveness of agricultural subsidies were considered. “Today the measures for improvement, which are grouped into three blocks, were proposed. The first are measures of a systemic nature to optimise and improve the effectiveness of subsidies in agriculture, with the transition to subsidising the issue of the final agricultural product, which is the main innovation,” said Marat Kussainov, first vice minister of the Ministry of National Economy. According to him, the current measures are focused on the following areas: reviewing subsidy mechanisms in the seed industry, revising mechanisms for subsidising irrigation water, stimulating the growth of production and exports of livestock and access to investment subsidies. “Measures of institutional improvement are aimed at ensuring transparency and simplifying administrative procedures for the issuance of subsidies. It is a big and important issue now: improvement of the methodology and effectiveness of the use of subsidies,” he stressed. He also noted that the existing system of subsidies needs to be reviewed. “The proposed measures will ensure the promotion of growth and product quality – this is the main task of improvement. They will promote cooperation, improve performance and build an effective structure of subsidies, which in the future should comply with the principles and criteria of the World Trade Organisation [WTO],” he explained.

 

– Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov met with Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress Zhang Baowen on Sept. 22 and discussed expanding and strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation, focusing on Kazakh-Chinese cooperation in the oil and gas industry, agriculture, energy and the transit and logistics sector. Massimov stressed the importance of boosting bilateral relations, noting their high level. “Relations between the two countries are at a high level and confirmation is the regular meetings of the heads of our states,” he said. Massimov also expressed interest in expanding investment cooperation with China. Zhang also noted the importance of strengthening bilateral ties and cooperation across the board. Following the meeting, both sides expressed the need to further deepen economic and trade cooperation to increase bilateral trade.

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