The international conference titled Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan was held on December 27. The Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies reported on Prospects for Development of Strategic Partnership and Alliance.
Following Tokayev’s Dec. 21-22 visit to Tashkent and his meeting in Uzbek with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, experts discussed new strategies for cooperation in the areas of economy, transport, and energy. Tokayev received Mirziyoyev to Astana exactly one year ago for his state visit.
“Our shared history, culture, geography and values unite us in one way or another. This allows us to build special relations with high levels of trust, with a special level of mutual trust. The foundation was laid for a greater cooperation in all areas from a strategic perspective by the President of Kazakhstan KassymJomartTokayev’s state visit to Uzbekistan Dec. 21-22. It is crucial, considering that the intense relations between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan generally, sets the tone to further development of cooperation of countries of the entire Central Asian region,” stated Yerkin Tukumov (political scientist and head of KazISS), one of the conference’s organisers along with the Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies of the President of Uzbekistan and International Institute of Central Asia.
The President Tokayev’s trip to Uzbekistan proved significant in many ways. Tokayev’s and Mirziyoyev had talks that focused on expanding trade and industrial cooperation as well as ties in the cultural and humanitarian spheres.
Tokayev stated that “thanks to the active diplomatic dialogue and joint work between the governments, Kazakh and Uzbek relations continue growing and demonstrate unprecedented dynamics all directions,” at a joint press conference following the talks.
Mirziyoyev and Tokayev both showed a strong commitment to expanding bilateral ties, after they signed the treaty of allied relations. This was the only precedent in Central Asia.
We share a common history, culture, spiritual values, traditions, and customs. Uzbekistan considers Kazakhstan to be the most trustworthy, reliable, and tested partner. Mirziyoyev stated that in this difficult time, we can without exaggeration describe our relations as an example interstate cooperation.
Both leaders pointed out that the increased cooperation between the two nations is also a key factor in the stability and prosperity within Central Asia. Mirziyoyev and Tokayev spoke repeatedly about strengthening peace in the region and encouraging regional rapprochement. They also advocated the idea of mutually acceptable regional solutions by Central Asian states.
“Without any doubt the current state visit by the President of Kazakhstan Kassym Jomart Tokayev (Uzbekistan) is an historic event and will go down the annals in bilateral relations by reaching breakthrough, in fact unprecedented agreements that will be essential for the further progressive development, relations between Uzkistan and Kazakhstan but also strengthening the whole architecture of security and sustainability in Central Asia,” stated Akramjon Nematov who was the first deputy director at the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies.
Trade and investments
They share more than a border of 2,300 kilometers. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are the largest economies in Central Asia. According to the Bureau of National Statistics of Kazakhstan, bilateral trade has grown significantly over time. It rose from $2.1 billion in 2014 and $3.8 billion by 2021.
In the 10th month of 2022 bilateral trade grew by 35 percent to $4.1 billion. Exports from Kazakhstan account for two-thirds, with a 36.3 percent increase in turnover (from $2.2 billion to $3 billion). Both countries agreed to increase bilateral trade turnover by $5 billion, and then to $10 million.
More than 38 projects are included in the plan for industrial cooperation between Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan. They create nearly 11,000 jobs. Ten projects were implemented in collaboration, half of which are located in Kazakhstan.
The two countries are enhancing their trade and economic interactions. Due to their geographic location, the economies of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan share a lot of potential. (…) Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have complementary economies that don’t compete. In a 2021 interview with Central Asian Analytical Network, Zakir Usmanov, a Uzbek economist, stated that it was necessary to improve cooperation in the transportation and logistics, water, energy, mechanical engineering, and tourism sectors.
There are more than 1,400 companies that have participated in Uzbek capital works in Kazakhstan, and over 400 joint Kazakh-Uzbek businesses.
The total Uzbek investment in Kazakh economic activity reached $22.1 million in 2021 and $8.6 millions in 2022. Kazakh investments into Uzbekistan amounted to $146.2 million and $29.5 millions in the first half 2022.
The Kazakh Minister for Trade and Integration Serik Zimangarin spoke at the Kazakh-Uzbek Interregional Business Forum on Dec. 21 in Tashkent. He noted the importance foreign investments in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Between 2005 and the second quarter 2022, the gross foreign inflow from Uzbekistan into Kazakhstan was $22.7 million. In contrast, investments by Kazakhstan into Uzbekistan’s economy for the same period totalled $560 million.
“Given each country’s small economic size, I believe that the Central Asian region should work together to attract international capital. Kazakhstan has already established all necessary infrastructure for this purpose, including the Astana International Financial Center (Import Preferences) and the Astana International Financial Center. Zhumangarin invited Uzbek companies into Kazakhstan and said that they are open to acting as a gateway to investors in our region.
The visit included the signing of the Treaty on Allies and the Agreement on Border Demarcation. It also included agreements on major industrial projects, and Mirziyoyev’s launch of industrial facilities.
During the visit, more than $8 billion worth of bilateral agreements and documents were signed. This includes 40 documents valued more than $2.5 Billion that were signed at the Dec. 21 business forum.
These agreements include a cooperation program to increase agricultural trade and implement joint projects in farming, signed by the ministries, an agreement for the supply of Chevrolet automobile components and kits to Kazakhstan, a memorandum on cooperation on an investment project to build a multimodal transport center in Tashkent Region and an agreement to launch ceramic tile production in Shymkent, and an agreement to launch household appliance production within the Karagandy Region.
Tokayev emphasized the potential for joint agricultural ventures, which include meat production, processing and packaging of fruits and vegetables and cultivation of oil crops like wheat and potatoes. The trade turnover for agricultural products increased by 30% in nine months, surpassing $1 billion.
Jamshid Khodjaev, Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan and Minister for Investments and Foreign Trade, stressed the importance of creating high-tech production facilities.
“We attach particular importance to our joint efforts to create high tech productions based upon our comparative advantage, the development industrial cooperation for producing high added value products to further conquer international markets. There is tremendous potential to multiply mutually beneficial projects. We have all the necessary resources – technology, production, personnel, and natural resources.” Khodjaev said.
The Central Asia International Center for Industrial Cooperation was one of the major projects that Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan launched during their visit.
The accelerated implementation at the border of Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan of the Central Asia International Center for Industrial Cooperation is an important step in the direction of industrial cooperation and the creation of a joint product for the exports to third country’s markets. Zhumangarin addressed the forum, saying that the center would be a model of industrial cooperation and an important platform for the active development of the North-South Central Asian economy corridor.
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