ASTANA – The state visit of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to China ahead of the China-Central Asia Summit this week is the catalyst for expanding the economic impact and bolstering trade ties in the region. The visit has so far resulted in the signing of 47 documents totaling $22 billion with Chinese counterparts, reported Akorda press service on May 18.
Tokayev said during his meeting with China’s Xi Jinping that bilateral trade volume hit a record high of $31 billion at the end of last year.
According to the head of the Asian Studies Department at the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies (KazISS) Aidar Kurmashev, such impressive numbers of bilateral trade turnover during a challenging year marked by the collapse of many regional and global links demonstrates the country’s strong focus on promoting external ties with neighboring countries.
In an interview with Kazinform, the expert also said Kazakhstan could benefit from China-Central Asia Summit as investors typically come not only to one country but the entire region.
“Trade between Central Asian countries is not as good as expected. I think attracting new investors to our countries will help to further rapprochement with China and Central Asia,” he said.
During his meeting with Xi Jinping, President Tokayev emphasized the importance of building land transport corridors, bringing investors’ attention to the possibility of China entering the enormous markets of Western Eurasia through Kazakhstan’s territory.
Tokayev mentioned the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also referred to as the Middle Corridor, as a potential game changer for improving transit between Europe and Asia.
According to Kurmashev, Kazakhstan should broaden the Middle Corridor to promote economic development.
“Kazakhstan strives to become a transit hub rather than just a transit territory. To become a transit hub, this road has to be filled with new sorting centers and production points, which will aid in the development of the economy and add more value to Kazakhstan in the transportation of goods,” he concluded.