Kazakhstan, Afghanistan Discuss Trade Cooperation

ASTANA – Kazakhstan proposed to Afghanistan to use the potential of a Kazakh trade house in Herat and to open an Afghan trade office in Kazakhstan to boost cooperation, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Zhumangarin said at an Aug. 2 meeting with Afghan Minister of Commerce and Industry Alhaj Nooruddin Azizi, reported the Prime Minister’s press service.

Aug. 2 meeting between Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Zhumangarin and Afghan Minister of Commerce and Industry Alhaj Nooruddin Azizi. Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

Zhumangarin underscored progress in expanding the range of trade, following the task to increase trade turnover from $ 1 to $ 3 billion, set during the visit to Kabul in April.

“With processed products accounting for 90% of Kazakh exports to Afghanistan, Kazakhstan added deliveries of domestic rolled metal, mineral fertilizers, rye and flax to flour and wheat supplies,” he informed.

During the recent visit of domestic companies to Kabul, the first shipments of Kazakh-produced energy drinks, flour products, and mineral fertilizers were delivered. This sparked an interest in sunflower oil. Additionally, Afghanistan’s imports of agricultural products were supplemented with textiles.

Since 2005, the gross inflow of investments from Afghanistan into Kazakhstan’s economy has approached $ 11.7 million. Some 52 joint ventures operate in Kazakhstan, mainly in trade.

The meeting participants discussed developing existing trade routes and creating alternative ones for supplying goods through Afghanistan.

They mentioned a current 20% discount to the railway tariff for the grain and flour transportation to Afghanistan through Uzbekistan’s Galaba station, noting that the tariffs for transporting Kazakh grain cargo through the territory of Uzbekistan to Afghanistan and Tajikistan remain quite high.

Aiming to bolster exports to Afghanistan, Kazakhstan develops an alternative and more profitable route through the territory of Turkmenistan, Zhumangarin said.

“Our railway company has worked out the provision of additional 10% discounts to the existing 30% for the transit tariff on the territory of Turkmenistan through the Turkmen-Afghan border crossing of Torghundi,” he shared.

Despite the simplified transportation of goods in the Trans-Afghan direction, the high cost of transporting bulk cargo still needs to be addressed. Given the mutual benefit of increasing the volume of deliveries along this route, Kazakhstan turned to Afghanistan with a request to consider reducing tariffs for Kazakh bulk cargo to $ 200.

Kazakhstan reviews the participation of domestic companies in other economic projects implemented in Afghanistan, particularly in the transport, mining, telecommunications and agricultural sectors.

In April, national telecoms operator Kazakhtelecom signed a contract for the supply of fiber-optic Internet to Afghanistan on a commercial basis.

Speaking of educational collaboration, Zhumangarin suggested increasing the number of Afghan students in Kazakhstan. To date, 130 students from Afghanistan study at the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU), which enrolls 30 people every year.

Get The Astana Times stories sent directly to you! Sign up via the website or subscribe to our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, YouTube and Tiktok!