Kazakhstan- China: The Silk Road of successful partnership

May 20. Kazpravda. Shanghai

By Vladimir KURYATOV

Kazakhstan- China: The Silk Road of successful partnershipPresident Nursultan Nazarbayev is on a state visit in China.

It is a third meeting of the two presidents this year. This time its venue is Shanghai – trade and financial capital of China.

The program of the visit comprises talks on the key cooperation aspects in the economic and political areas and Nursultan Nazarbayev’s attendance of the IV summit of CICA.

In the enlarged talks a wide range of bilateral cooperation aspects in trade, economic, financial, investment, transit and transport and agricultural sectors was discussed.

Furthermore, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Xi Jinping reviewed priority aspects of interaction in the framework of international and regional organizations and exchanged views on the international agenda. A large package of documents was signed, including the Joint Declaration.

Nazarbayev emphasized that the main constituent of the Kazakh-Chinese cooperation is economic, reminding that the target figure in bilateral trade by 2016 is $ 40 billion.

Growing trade in turn calls for the development of transport infrastructure, at which both the countries are working.

In 2012, geo-strategic project New Silk Road was launched in Kazakhstan; China has similar plans.

In September 2013 in Astana, the Chinese leader made a major initiative to create Silk Road economic zone, in which Kazakhstan is ready to take an active part, as well as in another initiative that he offered in Jakarta in October – creating a Sea Silk Road, which is particularly relevant to our land-locked country. Situated at the crossroads of East and West, Kazakhstan could develop into a major business and transit hub.Scaled work is ongoing in this direction: construction of the international highway Western Europe – Western China is under finalization, which will 3.5 times reduce the delivery of goods from China to Europe, compared to the sea route.

An extensive railway network is under creation, including routes Kazakhstan – Turkmenistan-Iran with access to the Gulf States: the Baku – Tbilisi – Kars, which will provide cargo transportation through Turkey (underwater railway tunnel “Mamaray” under Bosphorus) to the Old World. In Western Kazakhstan the cargo will pass through the Caspian Sea, in the East – through the Khorgos cross-border cooperation center to the Chinese port in the Yellow Sea, which gives exit to the Pacific.

Highly symbolic in this regard was the remote launch of construction of Kazakhstan’s terminal at the Lianyungang seaport in a ceremony.

The Lianyungang is among 25 largest ports in the world, with a developed transport infrastructure. The cargo area for the Kazakh- Chinese terminal there takes up 21.6 hectares. It will enable the processing and transshipment of Kazakhstan’s cargo to South- East Asia, Australia and Canada and from these countries.

In January 2014 an agreement was signed on creating a joint venture in international logistics – Kazakhstan- China International Logistics Company of Lianyungang (51% – Port of Lianyungang , 49% – of KTZ Express).The joint venture will be engaged in international multimodal transportation, loading and unloading operations, also consulting and freight forwarding services .

Nursultan Nazarbayev was awarded a “Silk Road” Prize for an outstanding contribution to peace and prosperity, the promotion of the Silk Road spirit.

The cooperation potential between Kazakhstan and China is ample. The last year bilateral sales volume is only $ 22.5 billion, and to achieve the targeted 40 billion, a lot remains to be done. Strides for it were taken during this visit: the Presidents signed contracts for the implementation of industrial, infrastructure, agricultural, chemical and energy projects. Among them is the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation between Samruk-Kazyna and the CITIC Group Corporation, providing for cooperation in oil and gas and mining industries.

A MoU was signed with the EXIM Bank of China to fund the project of Petro Kazakhstan Oil Products that involves reconstruction and upgrade of the Shymkent refinery, the sum of $ 1 billion.

General Agreement was also signed subsequent to the talks on opening of a credit line the total sum of $ 500 million between the DBK and the China Development Bank. The funds will be directed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in non-resource sectors.

A framework agreement was signed between KazMunaiGas and the CNPC on building a plant producing oil and gas pipes.