China signed deals with Kazakhstan on Dec 14 to expand traditional cooperation in energy to the non-energy sectors, including transportation, tourism and agriculture.
The agreements, signed after a meeting in Beijing between Premier Li Keqiang and his Kazakh counterpart, Karim Masimov, will facilitate more Chinese travelers to go on group tours to Kazakhstan and streamline procedures for business visas in both countries.
The two sides agreed on standardized customs and quarantine procedures for China to purchase wheat from Kazakhstan, and for Kazakhstan to import China’s poultry.
During the meeting, Premier Li recalled his visit to Kazakhstan last year, during which the two countries agreed on industrial capacity cooperation as a means to expand bilateral exchanges into non-energy sectors.
Masimov, likewise recalling Premier Li’s visit to Astana last year, said, “During the trip, you proposed an initiative on industrial cooperation that has been carried forth, and a dozen projects have been put up since then.”
Umirzak Shukeyev, chief executive officer of Samruk-Kazyna, the sovereign wealth fund of the Republic of Kazakhstan, said the agreements signed between the two countries amounted to more than $7 billion.
“The partnership with China is very important, as the country is currently our largest trading partner,” he said. “We will further push forward our cooperation with China in various areas, especially in non-energy sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, logistics and tourism.”
China and Kazakhstan have vowed to promote bilateral trade, aiming for a record high trade volume of $40 billion by the end of the year.
Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan’s state nuclear company, plans to build a plant with China General Nuclear Power Corp for the production of fuel assemblies in Kazakhstan and the joint exploration of uranium deposits. Kazatomprom claims to hold a market share of more than 21 percent of the world’s uranium production.
Other agreements also involve construction of two hydropower plants and a wind farm in Kazakhstan.