China-Kazakhstan Trade Hits Record Highs
Chinese investors moving in, Kazakh exporters eye new China developing markets
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has been noting the special importance of co-operation between China and the Central Asian states. Cheng Yikun, the Deputy Director of the “Department of Europe and Central Asia of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China”, stated that the record dynamics of trade turnover over the past year in the region, as well as the development of transport routes between our countries, have been down to Kazakhstan’s central role in the region and an important part of the Belt and Road initiative.
Cheng stated that “Over the past year, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and China has been dynamically increasing. Development in the sphere of investment co-operation is noted. Last year, trade turnover between our countries totalled US$31 billion, a historical record. In May this year, during the meeting of presidents in Qian, the parties agreed that they will continue to strengthen the partnership, and continue to expand the mutual trade volume.”
Data from China’s National Statistics Bureau confirm the volumes. According to them, in H1 2023, the bilateral trade turnover between China and Kazakhstan reached US$13.6 billion. This shows a record growth of Chinese goods exported to Kazakhstan, with a year-on-year growth of 53% to US$7.3 billion. That has placed China as Kazakhstan’s largest import partner.
Kazakhstan’s Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Zhumangarin, has commented that his country has singled out China as a Central Corridor for strengthening commercial cooperation with the world. It can export its goods via Chinese ports to South Asia, Europe, and North America. He voiced Kazakhstan’s plans to increase its processed exports to 41 billion tenge (US$88.2 million) by 2025. To achieve this, Kazakhstan is systematically strengthening its presence in China’s transport and logistics initiatives.
Kazakh President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev, in his speech at last week’s BRICS summit meeting, urged the member countries to join the implementation of economic, trade, transport and investment projects through the North-South and East-West corridors.
“The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, complementing the crucial Belt and Road initiative, opens up valuable prospects for trade co-operation. Such interaction will promote the development of interregional trade and unlock the full transit and transport potential of our regions,” the head of state said.
This year Belt & Road Initiative partner countries celebrate 10 years since the launch of the initiative, which was originally announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a speech in Kazakhstan. China plans to mark the jubilee year by implementing a number of documents between the two countries: a programme on trade and economic cooperation, a memorandum of understanding on e-commerce, as well as programmes in the field of development of production capacities and investments.
The two sides also plan to increase the scale and quality of trade cooperation and create favourable conditions for trade exchange. China’s areas of interest include e-commerce, big data, artificial intelligence, and 5G, with indications that Chinese SOE’s will soon enter the Kazakhstan market, with a number of businesses coming in with production sites.
While Chinese companies are strengthening their presence in the domestic market, Kazakh companies are setting sales records on China’s electronic marketplaces. For example, in the online supermarket Jingdong, Kazakhstan’s National Pavilion has been operating since May this year, selling numerous types of food products, including confectionery, camel milk powder, safflower oil, and tea, amongst other goods. On the first day of the official opening of the Jingdong Kazakhstan National Pavilion, 80% of the total volume of goods were sold out.
According to JD.com, the sales of two products were particularly high: wheat flour and dry camel milk. Experts attribute the high demand for these goods to Chinese consumers’ desire for a healthy lifestyle, which gives Kazakhstani flour and camel milk an advantage.
The camel milk powder brand Saubota sold out as soon as it appeared on the market as it acquires a healthy lifestyle market niche in the PRC. China’s health food market has surged in value from US$300 million in 2017 to US$850 million in 2022, and it is projected to surpass US$1 billion in 2023.
Source: Top Press