China and Central Asia Reach Numerous Belt & Road Initiative Agreements
By Emil Avdaliani
When China held its third Belt and Road Forum in October, little information was made public regarding the deals signed during the event. In fact, China reached numerous agreements, and especially so with its Central Asian neighbors. These ranged from developing green technologies to infrastructure construction. We identify them as follows:
China signed 30 commercial contracts with Kazakhstan for a huge total of US$16.54 billion.
Among the most notable were:
- Agreement between JSC NC KazMunayGas and SINOPEC on the joint development of a pre-feasibility study for the TFC/PET project;
- Agreement between JSC NC KazMunayGas and CITIC Group on mutual understanding to promote the project to increase the processing capacity of the JV CASPI BITUM LLP plant to 1.5 million tons of oil per year;
- Cooperation agreement between Kazpost JSC and YTO Express Group;
- Framework agreement between JSC NC Kazakhstan Temir Zholy and CRRC Corporation Limited on cooperation and acquisition of CRRC Corporation Limited products (trade agreement);
- Bilateral statement from the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan and China National Petroleum Corporation on the extension of the subsoil use contract;
- Agreement for the sale and purchase of shares in the authorized capital of Sileno LLP between JSC NC KazMunayGas, SINOPEC and SIBUR LLC.
- Agreement on cooperation between Samruk-Kazyna JSC and China Power International Holding, SANY Renewable Energy Co.Ltd;
- Agreement on cooperation between KazNU named after. Al-Farabi and the Beijing University of Petroleum to create the “One Belt, One Road” Association for the joint development of industry, training of scientific personnel, joint scientific research in the energy sector;
- Agreement on cooperation between the Foreign Trade Chamber of Kazakhstan LLP and the Shenzhen Enterprise Confederation;
- Agreement on joint development of the project between Samruk-Energy JSC and Power China Resources Ltd.;
- Agreement on joint development between Samruk-Kazyna JSC and China Power International Holding;
- Agreement on cooperation between KazMunayGas JSC and China National Offshore Oil Corporation;
- Agreement on cooperation between JSC NC QazaqGaz and Geo-Jade Petroleum Corporation;
- Agreement of intent for the implementation of the project “Industrial Park of Civil Explosives” between JSC NC Kazakhstan Engineering and Liangjiang Precision Control Electronic Technology (Chongqing) Co.Ltd;
- Framework agreement between the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Qazaqstan Investment Corporation JSC and China Huadian Overseas Investment on investment cooperation;
- Framework agreement on cooperation between NC Kazakhstan Temir Zholy JSC and Lianyungang Port Group LLC;
- Distribution agreement between Astana Motors and BYD Auto Industry Co.Ltd. on the supply of vehicles powered by new energy sources;
- Distribution agreement between Astana Motors and TELD New Energy Co.Ltd.;
- Additional agreement on academic exchange between KazNU named after. Al-Farabi and Beijing Foreign Studies University;
- Credit agreement between Samruk-Kazyna JSC, GPC Investment LLP, Bank of China Limited (Tokyo Branch), JSC AB “Bank of China Kazakhstan”, China Construction Bank (Asia) corporation limited to provide a credit line to GPC Investment;
- Preliminary investment agreement between Samruk-Kazyna JSC and SANY Renewable Energy Co.Ltd;
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Samruk-Kazyna JSC and China National Petroleum Corporation;
- Memorandum of cooperation and partnership between the RSE “Hospital of the Medical Center of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan” at the PVC, NJSC “Astana Medical University” and BGI Group;
- Memorandum of cooperation between Kazpost JSC and Sai Cheng International Logistics Co.Ltd;
- Memorandum of Understanding between Primus Capital LLP and Sinoma Cement Co.Ltd;
- Memorandum of Understanding between NJSC “Astana Medical University” and Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare Co.Ltd;
- Memorandum of understanding between KazNU named after. Al-Farabi and Beijing Language and Culture University;
- Addendum No. 7 to the Subsoil Use Contract between the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan and CNPC-Aktobemunaigas JSC;
- Basic conditions for QIC’s participation in the Forebright Life Science Technology Fund between Qazaqstan Investment Corporation JSC and BGI Group;
- Natural gas purchase and sale agreement between QazaqGaz NC JSC and Petrochina International Co.Ltd.
China signed an intergovernmental agreement on the development of cooperation in the field of renewable energy sources with Uzbkeistan. In essence, Beijing and Tashkent agreed to accelerate the transition to “green development” by building and modernizing components of power transmission networks for renewable energy sources. Additionally, the deal also presupposes the development of a scientific and technical base in the field of renewable energy sources.
In case of Turkmenistan a number of bilateral documents were signed including the one on agreement on technical and economic cooperation. Not much is however known regarding the contents of the deal. Moreover, a memorandum on understanding between the custom services of the two countries was likewise signed. The Chinese side also signaled that active work is going on fourth line (Line D) of the oft-mentioned China-Central Asia gas pipeline. The latter aims at transiting 30 billion cubic meters per year and is seen as a gamechanger in the export capacity of Turkmenistan and will further diversify the Ashgabat’s infrastructure.
This latest range of agreements fits into the overall pattern of China’s growing trade with Central Asia. The total balance of trade with the region remains in favor of China, which in the first six months of 2023 exported approximately US$26.4 billion worth of goods and services to Central Asia and imported US$13.5 billion. The agreements are also built upon previous set of massive deals signed between China and the Central Asian leaders during the May 2023 summit held in Xi’an, China.
Emil Avdaliani is a professor at European University and the director of Middle East Studies at the Georgian think tank Geocase.