President Tokayev Aims to Boost Trade and Business Ties with South Korea

ASTANA – President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev participated in the Kazakh-Korean business forum alongside South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on June 12, reported the Akorda press service.

Photo credit: Akorda

Tokayev emphasized Kazakhstan’s ambition to solidify its status as South Korea’s primary trade and economic partner in Central Asia, which is especially relevant in the era of global radical economic restructuring, where Asia is emerging as a leader in sustainable development and technological progress.

“Experts predict that Asia will contribute 60% of global GDP growth this year. At the same time, South Korea undoubtedly plays a crucial role in the ‘Asian Renaissance’,” Tokayev stated.

He identified key areas for collaboration between the two countries’ economies, focusing on strategic sectors such as subsoil use and industry. In the oil and gas sector, Tokayev underscored the importance of transferring South Korean technologies and establishing production facilities for modern equipment and spare parts, particularly in light of the expansion of major Kazakh oil and gas fields such as Tengiz, Kashagan, and Karachaganak.

Tokayev also highlighted Kazakhstan’s potential in extracting and processing critical raw materials and expressed readiness to continue partnerships with South Korean entities such as KIGAM and SK Ecoplant, particularly in lithium deposit development and high-value product manufacturing.

In the automotive industry, the Kazakh President noted the successful assembly of Hyundai cars in Kazakhstan and the upcoming launch of a full-cycle KIA plant with a $200 million investment next year. This marks the first time KIA has invested in constructing a plant outside South Korea.

Tokayev expressed hope for expanded cooperation with South Korean firms in green energy, emphasizing the importance of experience exchange, project implementation, and technology transfer. He welcomed Doosan Enerbility’s plans to build gas power plants in the Turkistan and Atyrau Regions.

He noted his appreciation for South Korea’s proposal to introduce “smart agricultural farms” in Kazakhstan, showcasing interest in South Korean agricultural technologies that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and biotechnology. Kazakh farmers are particularly interested in South Korean experience in constructing highly efficient “smart” greenhouses.

Tokayev invited South Korean investors and developers to actively participate in the Alatau City project, which is being developed in collaboration with Singapore.

He pointed out new opportunities for cooperation in medicine, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology, noting that global players such as Pfizer, Roche, GE Healthcare, and Philips are localizing production in Kazakhstan. The Kazakh leader anticipated that South Korean company GL Rapha will soon begin constructing a biopharmaceutical plant in Almaty, setting high standards in the local market. He also saw potential in establishing South Korean diagnostic centers and multidisciplinary laboratories in Kazakhstan.

Tokayev proposed cooperation in developing AI, building modern data centers, and enhancing cybersecurity. He highlighted the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) as a unique platform for fostering a competitive investment environment in the region. He noted that over 2,000 companies from dozens of countries, including around 20 from South Korea, are already participating in the AIFC. Tokayev expressed interest in increasing this number, particularly in the areas of fintech, IT, asset management, and leasing.

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!