Domestic Economy

Kazakh Premier’s Visit to Boost Trade Commitment to $3 Billion

Kazakh Premier’s Visit to Boost Trade Commitment to $3 Billion
Kazakh Premier’s Visit to Boost Trade Commitment to $3 Billion

Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov paid an official visit to Tehran on April 26, meeting with senior Iranian officials to fast-track bilateral ties. 
Export contracts worth $60 million, bilateral documents related to tourism, sports, youth and customs training, and an agreement to develop transportation between the ports of Kuryk and Amirabad are among the key outcomes of Smailov’s visit, The Astana Times reported, citing the Kazakh government’s press service. 
Smailov’s one-day visit included meetings with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber for following up the implementation of agreements reached between the presidents of the two countries.
During the meeting with Raisi, Smailov emphasized the importance placed by Kazakhstan on developing relations with Iran. The two sides discussed trade and economy, investment and cross-border cooperation, and the implementation of joint initiatives in cultural and humanitarian sectors. 
“Currently, the governments of the two countries are actively working on the practical implementation of tasks set at the highest level. I am confident this year will be marked by new high results of our cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats,” said Smailov. 
The “new high results” are expected from the first meeting of the Kazakh-Iranian working group on agriculture planned in Tehran this year and the appointment of a special trade representative at Kazakhstan’s Embassy in Iran.
Raisi described Kazakhstan as one of the most influential countries in the region.
“Although the significant growth of trade relations between the two countries last year has made the situation different from before, this level of relations is not commensurate with the capacities of the two countries, and we have to work hard to improve it,” Raisi was quoted by as saying by his press office. 
Raisi also spoke about investment in transit infrastructure from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf, transportation development to facilitate commercial transactions, increasing cooperation in agriculture and using innovative mechanisms in the monetary and banking fields.



Promising Areas for Trade 

The development of trade and economic relations, deepening of cooperation in agriculture, investment attraction, implementation of promising projects in the transit and transport sector, and increasing the volume of freight were on the agenda of Smailov’s meeting with Mokhber.
“Iran is one of Kazakhstan’s key partners in the Persian Gulf,” said Smailov.
Last year, bilateral trade turnover between the countries grew by nearly 20% and reached $528 million. 
Smailov stressed that Kazakhstan is ready to increase the export of 75 commodities worth approximately $250 million.
“I am confident that as our economic potential is fully unlocked, we can boost mutual trade to $3 billion. We have significant potential for this in areas, such as energy, transport and logistics, agriculture and industry,” said Smailov.
Agriculture offers substantial opportunities in achieving this goal, accounting for more than 70% of mutual trade. 
To expand trade in agriculture, Smailov said Kazakhstan is ready to supply the Iranian market with flour, confectionery and pasta products, meat and vegetable oils, while it is interested in vegetables and fruits from Iran, particularly during the off-season.



Connectivity and Transport 

The two countries can also leverage their strategic location and transport infrastructure to boost trade and commerce. 
Iran, strategically located at the crossroads of the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus, has an extensive transport network that makes it an ideal gateway for trade between Asia and Europe. The same can be said of Kazakhstan, a landlocked country with vast natural reserves and a key transit hub for goods flowing between China and Europe.
Both countries can tap into the development of the International North-South Transportation Corridor, a multimodal transport network that connects the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran and then onwards to Russia and Europe.
“The government of Kazakhstan aims to fully implement the tasks set by the heads of our states and bring the Kazakh-Iranian partnership to a qualitatively new level,” said Smailov.
Mokhber agreed with Smailov on the untapped potential in trade and said the two countries should stimulate the private sector.
“We invite Kazakh companies to play an active role in developing our partnership,” stated Mokhber.



Export Contracts 

Export contracts worth $60 million were signed as part of the third Kazakh trade and economic mission in Tehran for supplying Kazakh fertilizers, oil and cattle meat.
The event, organized by the QazTrade Center for Development of Trade Policy, was attended by representatives of the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture, the joint chamber of commerce, the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Mining, Agriculture and Mines, 20 Kazakh companies active in food, chemical, construction, light industry and metallurgy sectors, and more than 150 Iranian trade delegates.
Iranian companies showed particular interest in Kazakhstan’s phosphate fertilizers, ferroalloys and food products.

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