Kazakhstan, China Ink $14 billion in Cooperation Deals

ASTANA – Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov and his Chinese counterpart, Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang approved and signed $14 billion worth of accords on Dec. 14-15 in Astana, including several cooperation agreements on nuclear energy, development of mineral resources and the use of national currencies in commercial operations.

127303204_14185923599951nThe two heads of government discussed their macro-economic policies and agreed to additional meetings to address international fluctuations in the price of hydrocarbons, in particular crude oil.

“The interest of Chinese business in Kazakhstan is very high. In turn, I can confirm that this is a mutual interest. It is a pleasure to say that trade and economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and China is expanding. In today’s unstable economic situation across the world, our countries should use the potential of our friendship to solve important problems for the benefit of our countries,” Li said.

Massimov stressed that Kazakhstan welcomes foreign investment in the industrial and manufacturing sectors and the creation of high-tech industries with high added value. All necessary conditions were created for investors, he said.

The National Bank of Kazakhstan and the People’s Bank of China also signed an agreement on mutual settlements in national currencies, as well as an agreement on currency swaps of Kazakh tenge and Chinese yuan. This agreement will promote local currency settlement and enhance both countries’ immunity to financial risks and global competitiveness.

The national railroad companies also signed a cooperation agreement to promote the transport of merchandise, the aim of which is to create a new Silk Road, a trade corridor from the Asian giant to Europe.

The two nations also agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the electric energy sector, a move that would include Kazakh power supplies to China and other countries with China as the transit territory.

In addition, the countries created a joint venture for the production of nuclear fuel. Kazakhstan, the world’s main exporter of uranium, will supply the nuclear centres of China and other countries.

The Chinese and Kazakhs also launched several projects to modernise the coal industry in Kazakhstan to better produce coal, diesel fuel, synthetic natural gas and other chemical products.

The parties also signed intergovernmental documents, including a protocol on amendments to the agreement on the regulation of the “Khorgos” International Centre of Cross-Border Cooperation.

Along with these agreements, memorandums of understanding to deepen cooperation in the nuclear industry were signed between the Kazakh Ministry of Energy and atomic energy authority of China. The Kazakh Ministry of National Economy and Chinese National Development and Reform Commission inked a document to jointly promote the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Li was received by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the latter’s Akorda residence. The host emphasised the two nations have begun projects in the transportation and infrastructure sectors and said a large part of Kazakh petroleum is being produced with Chinese involvement.

During the visit, KazMunayGas and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the state-run natural gas and oil companies, agreed to deepen cooperation in the exploitation of Kazakhstan’s South Kumkol and Kalamkas oil reserves.

Li highlighted that the non-energy sectors with the greatest prospects for Chinese-Kazakh cooperation are mineral resources, machinery manufacturing and agriculture.

Nazarbayev also voiced his approval for the Chinese proposal to create a fund and bank to finance infrastructure projects within the New Silk Road corridor.

During his visit to Kazakhstan in September 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed building a Silk Road Economic Belt for the 21st century, a project that is designed to benefit the three billion people who live in Eurasia.The New Silk Road will be comprised of modern highways, rail lines and oil and gas pipelines. In his speech delivered at Nazarbayev University, Xi suggested that relevant countries enhance communication and show green light for regional economic integration in policy and law.

He proposed that China and Central Asian countries compare notes on their economic development strategies and work together to formulate measures for regional cooperation.

“This has been perhaps one of my most fruitful visits in recent years, as China and Kazakhstan have launched a mutually-beneficial cooperation,” said Li at the conclusion of the trip.

Media reports on the visit suggested that it has proven Beijing is sticking to its strategy of expanding economic cooperation with Kazakhstan through offering financial and other kinds of backing to projects in the energy sector and infrastructure development.

During his visit, Li also attended the 13th prime ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).