NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan expressed readiness to strengthen bilateral trade with Afghanistan. This was announced during the visit of the Kazakh trade and economic mission to Afghanistan headed by Minister of Trade and Integration Bakhyt Sultanov, the ministry’s press service reported on Dec. 25.
Sultanov discussed cooperation with the representatives of the acting Afghan administration including Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, Minister of Commerce and Industry Nooruddin Azizi.
Sultanov said that Kazakhstan is committed to the policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. “We traditionally stand for a peaceful, united, independent and prosperous Afghanistan, free from terrorism and drug-related crime. The Afghan people have the right to determine their own future in search of lasting peace and development,” he said.
This year, the Kazakh government allocated 5,000 tons of flour as humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. The United Nations World Food Programme recently purchased 20,000 tons of Kazakh flour as a response measure to tackle the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
“We brought 1.5 tons of cargo (medicines). In addition, a humanitarian cargo with food and medicines worth 155 tons or $1.9 million has departed from Kazakhstan and will arrive soon to Afghanistan,” Sultanov said.
According to Sultanov, the shipment of Kazakh goods to be traded with Afghanistan totals 45 items worth $360 million. These are products of food, petrochemical, chemical, metallurgy, textiles, mechanical engineering, and woodworking industries. Kazakhstan is also ready to purchase more fruits and vegetables from Afghan suppliers.
The Kazakh minister noted the need to enhance the trade balance between the countries. The industrial cooperation of Kazakh and Afghan businesses at the centers of cross-border cooperation created by Kazakhstan, including the Central Asia International Center for Industrial Cooperation will contribute to this goal.
The Kazakh-Afghan business forum was held on the same day. Some 16 Kazakh companies involved in food production, manufacturing of furniture and textile products also took part in the event. The agreements on the supply of pasta, flour and other products to Afghanistan were signed.
Kazakhstan is traditionally a major supplier of flour and grain to Afghanistan. More than half of all exports of Kazakh flour and more than 10 percent of grain exports have been recently delivered to the Afghan market.
In the period between January to October of 2021, trade between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan amounted to $345.9 million, which is 27.5 percent lower than in the same period of the previous year ($477.1 million), according to the Ministry of Trade and Integration.
Exports from Kazakhstan to Afghanistan decreased by 28.1 percent and amounted to $342.2 million. Imports tripled and amounted to $3.7 million.
Trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan in 2020 amounted to $622.6 million, which is 54.9 percent higher than in the same period of the previous year ($401.8 million). In 2020, Kazakhstan’s exports to Afghanistan increased by 55.6 percent and reached $620.7 million. The growth was due to the increase in the supply of wheat and wheat flour.