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Kazakhstan’s exports exceeded $48.3 billion in 2017 Astana Times, 5 May 2018

08 May 2018 11:38 AM | Bakytzhamal Jetmekova

Kazakhstan’s foreign trade turnover increased by 25 percent to $69.5 billion last year. The country’s exports increased by 30 percent and reached $48.3 billion; imports grew by 15.5 percent to $29.3 billion, Minister for Investment and Development of Kazakhstan Zhenis Kassymbek reported at a May 2 government meeting. 

Over four years from 2013 to 2017, the share of manufacturing exports in Kazakhstan’s total exports increased from 23 to 32 percent.

“This year we are observing a positive export trend. According to relevant data, in the first two months of this year, exports exceeded $8.8 billion, which is 27.4 percent – $1.9 billion – higher than in the same period last year,” Kassymbek said.

In the meantime, the country provides financial and service support to boost export volumes.

“In 2010-2017, exporters were provided with financial and insurance support worth more than 112.6 billion tenge (US$340.6 million). The government also ensured export trade financing worth 14.7 billion tenge (US$44.4 million) and pre-export financing at 5 billion tenge (US$15.1 million). More than 40 exporters receive financial support every year. As part of the service support for exporters in 2010 to 2017, 1,800 manufacturers were able to conclude export contracts for more than $2 billion, including $197 million in 2017. Expenses were compensated to 204 exporters for 1.6 billion tenge (US$4.84 million). Every year more than 400 exporters receive service support in the country,” the minister said.

To increase the share of non-primary sector exports, the government is working with the ministries, the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs, Kazakh Invest, the Kazakh Export insurance company and local executive agencies to modernise existing enterprises and introduce new export-oriented industries. The market shows a steady trend since 2015 with the introduction of seven-eight new products to foreign markets.

“In 2017, eight new products were brought to foreign markets: Niva and Peugeot cars, solar panels, gas boilers, cartridges, rails, POS-terminals and dry mare’s milk,” Kassymbek pointed out.

Digital Railway strategy to increase speed, convenience, savings Astana Times, 4 May 2018

Kazakh national rail company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) President Kanat Alpysbayev reported on the implementation of the country’s Digital Railways strategy during the May 2 government meeting on export, consumer and transport digitisation policies.

Transport makes up 8 percent of Kazakhstan’s gross domestic product and has been increasing by at least 4.5 percent each year. Kazakhstan’s population of 18 million owns 5.3 million automobiles, suggesting 29 out of 100 people in the country possess a vehicle, compared to 14 out of 100 in the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States and 48 out of 100 in Europe. In 2017, 2.5 million traffic violations were registered in Kazakhstan.

The 2018-2022 Digital Railway strategy sketches the implementation of 21 projects, two of which are being implemented under the Digital Kazakhstan state programme. The Digital Railway project aims to reduce traffic violations up to 85 percent, increase the average speed of travel around the city, improve passenger transport safety and reduce the environmental footprint of KTZ’s transport options.

An eight-component process has been laid out to meet these goals. The first component is the further application of modern information systems in KTZ’s critical operating segments – cargo transportation, passenger transportation, railway infrastructure and transport logistics.

Other components involve controlling cost optimisation, launching digital road diagnostics and implementing Traffic Management and Digital Services Centres at 17 railway stations. Internet ticketing options and another 17,000 ticket terminals are to be available in the near future, and waiting list and train rating programmes have already been launched. E-ticket sales currently make up 64 percent of all sales; by 2020, it is hoped that they will make 90 percent.

“It is planned to realise a 24/7 system of centralised management of customer appeals for prompt feedback to customers through timely response to complaints and suggestions,” added Alpysbayev.

Likewise, a single electronic exchange platform is being created for multimodal transport, particularly transit container movements with the account of more than 1,700 customers-participants. Automated processes are underway at Khorgos-Eastern Gate on the border with China that can potentially reduce traffic checkpoint time from 10 minutes to 30 seconds, and diminish registration costs from $2,395 to $239.50 per every registration, which in turn cuts the risk of corruption offences.

Information systems are also being introduced in freight rail transport to increase the efficiency of the organisation of transportation processes, ensure the timely delivery and safety of goods and simplify procedures for crossing the borders of other railway administrations.

“The company completed a service for the online tracking of goods, including a system of electronic lock devices that ensures the safety of cargo and a prompt response to any unauthorised attempt to access cargo. An automated system of contractual and commercial work was presented during the report. An e-freight paperless workflow system for air cargo is going to be implemented this year, and the project costs are estimated to be around 5.4 billion tenge (US$16.2 million). “We have implemented 100 percent paperless transportation of goods, as well as integration with the Astana-1 information system,” said Alpysbayev.

According to preliminary estimates, the total economic effect from the implementation of the strategy will be 110 billion tenge (US $331.3 million) by 2025.

The overall long-term effects of the programme are hoped to be a 20 percent reduction in travel time, availability of information up to 70 percent, an 8 to 10 percent reduction in traffic accidents and a drop of harmful emissions by 24 percent. The positive economic impact of all of this is expected to be 380 billion tenge (US $1.14 billion).

“Successful implementation of Digital Kazakhstan projects will ensure the advancement of the country’s logistics environment,” Alpysbayev emphasised.

Business forum France-Kazakhstan held in Astana, 27.04.2018

A round table of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry France–Kazakhstan entitled "France– Kazakhstan: 10 years of strategic partnership" was held on April 26 in Astana with the participation of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

Representatives of business structures of the two countries took part in the forum.

In his welcoming address to the forum participants, PM Sagintayev noted that France is one of the main trade partners of Kazakhstan in Europe, over a ten-year period of strategic partnership, cooperation has been established in many areas of development, and the Kazakh government supports French companies operating in Kazakhstan.

Speaking about institutional reforms in Kazakhstan, Sagintayev emphasized that the goal of a consistent course for the Third Modernization of the country, initiated by the Kazakh President, is the creation of a new model of economic growth. The state policy is based on technological modernization, strengthening of the quality of human capital and the development of innovations. A large-scale national project on digitalization has been launched.

The Prime Minister also noted that Kazakhstan is continuing its steady course to increase global competitiveness, improving the investment climate and opening the country and market to friends and partners, and expressed confidence that the French business community will be able to take an active part in this rich and diverse economic agenda.

During the round table, issues of technological modernization, digitization, development of innovations, formation of a new economy in Kazakhstan, and participation of French business in these processes were discussed. The entrepreneurs of the two countries considered promising areas for the implementation of joint projects in the fields of agriculture, mining and manufacturing, civil aviation, transport and trade, tourism, standardization, and education.

According to official statistics, trade between Kazakhstan and France for 2017 amounted to $3.3 billion, which is 38.5% higher than in 2016 ($2.5 billion). Exports from Kazakhstan last year amounted to $2.8 billion, which is 59.7% higher than in 2016 ($1.8 billion).

The gross inflow of direct foreign investments to Kazakhstan for 2005-2017 was $264.4 billion, of which $14.1 billion was from France. As of 1 April 2018, 220 legal entities, branches and representative offices with French participation were registered in Kazakhstan. Citizens of France can freely enter Kazakhstan without a visa, and the capitals of the two countries are connected by direct flights.

Kazakh, Chinese ministries of finance to sign co-op memorandum, 1.05.2018

Minister of Finance of Kazakhstan Bakhyt Sultanov and China's Finance Minister Liu Kun agreed to conclude an inter-agency memorandum of understanding and cooperation in the near future, during the meeting, organized within the framework of Sultanov's working visit to Beijing, the press service of the Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan said in a message.

Kazakh minister stressed that the two countries expand investment cooperation, attract loans for the integration of the Chinese "One Belt One Road Initiative" and Kazakhstan’s Nurly Zhol program.

The parties also discussed the current economic situation of the two countries, the expansion of cooperation, as well as the activities of financial markets and their services, including the Astana International Finance Centre. During the visit to Beijing, Sultanov also held talks with the Chairman of the Securities Regulatory Commission of China, the Chief Customs Officer of China and Vice President of Exim Bank of China.