In the 25 years since Kazakhstan declared its independence, the Central Asian nation has transformed itself from a fledgling nation unsure of its place in the world to a modern player on the global stage.
The transformation wasn’t easy and the future is always uncertain, but Kazakhstan’s leaders and outside geopolitical experts are confident that even brighter days await the peaceful nation.
At a recent forum in Washington celebrating the quarter-century milestone of independence, members of Congress and the U.S. foreign policy establishment, Kazakh Foreign Ministry officials and others sat down for a daylong discussion.
The group highlighted the building blocks of Kazakhstan’s success. Among them a robust energy sector, widespread religious tolerance, a central and advantageous geographic location and not least, its critical geopolitical decision at the dawn of its independence to relinquish some 1,400 nuclear strategic and tactical warheads remaining from the Soviet-era.
The speakers also explored the possibilities inherent in Kazakhstan’s future. And all agreed the future looks promising.
Rep. Robert Aderholt, a Republican congressman from Alabama and the co-chairman of the Friends of Kazakhstan caucus, saluted the country for building “a modern republic of peace and prosperity.” He said the U.S. views the Central Asian nation as an important ally in the region.
“The United States values the unique relationship that we have with the Republic of Kazakhstan,” Aderholt said. “The strategic partnership dialogue between our countries is a productive platform for important issues such as countering terrorism and violent extremism, [as well as] trade, energy, innovation, good government, human rights, democracy building and regional stability.”
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The reforms announced by President Nazarbayev on 25 January are significant constitutional reforms. I believe they represent another step forward in a modernization of democracy in Kazakhstan and really they modernize the structure in the system of your Constitution, of your Government, of the contract between the President, and the Government, and the Parliament, and the People. And all of this reflex that Kazakhstan is a different country today than 10 years ago or 25 years ago when you became newly independent.
Sitting here in Washington, DC President Trump talks about Making America Great Again, and I think President Nazarbayev through this set of reforms and the Third Modernization’s set of reforms will continue to make Kazakhstan Great again and forever.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev gave his annual address of the Nation on January 31, 2017. In his remarks the President termed the new, third stage of country’s modernization driven by five priorities to ensure economic growth and bring Kazakhstan closer to its goal of being one of the top 30 most-developed countries.
Watch the video by the Embassy of Kazakhstan to learnmore about the 5 prioritires.
The percentage of high-tech exports (as a share of manufactured exports) from Kazakhstan have grown from just 4.46% in 1995 to 37.17% in 2014.
Over the past two decades, high-tech exports from Kazakhstan have been increasing steadily. The World Bank Group has been working since 2008 with the Kazakh Government and scientist groups to further expand the country’s high-tech exports in a number of sectors. Through the Technology Commercialization Project, 65 new startups received grant funding and business training to get their innovations out of the lab and into markets. The startups operate in a wide variety of industries including agriculture, health, medicine, gas, oil and robotics. Already 40 of these businesses have reached first sales.
Find out more about the project and how it energized innovation in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan sent about 500 tonnes of humanitarian aid on Jan. 6 to the people of Syria in the form of food, including flour, canned meat, rice, pasta and tea.
Russian Ministry of Defense rendered its assistance in delivering the aid, which was brought by Kuznetsov dry-cargo ship to Tartus Port Jan. 5. The unloading and handover of the cargo to Syrian authorities began Jan. 6. Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Jordan Azamat Berdybai handed the humanitarian aid to the Syrian side in the person of President of the Provincial Council of Tartus Yasser Dibba.
The Higher Relief Commission of the Syrian Arab Republic will oversee the distribution of the Kazakh aid.
“Although the international community takes all required efforts, the humanitarian situation in the country remains catastrophic. In this regard, President Nursultan Nazarbayev made a decision to send humanitarian aid, namely food, to Syria. The 500 tonnes of cargo delivered in 33 containers include primarily food and medications and are meant for the Syrian people suffering the consequences of the six-year-long war. Kazakhstan backs the measures launched by the international community and the actions of the Syrian authorities and the opposition aimed at speedy ceasefire and determining the political future of Syria by means of dialogue and reconciliation,” Berdybai said at a meeting with the Syrian delegation.
The United States, one of the top foreign investors in Kazakhstan, is about to witness Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, as the 45th and probably one of its most controversial Presidents. Will policies under the new administration affect U.S.-Kazakh relations?
The Astana Times interviewed the current U.S. Ambassador in Astana, George Krol, in search of answers.
Numerous U.S. companies have invested more than $26 billion in Kazakhstan, making the country one of the top foreign investors, primarily in natural resources, manufacturing, and services, said Krol. Last year the trade turnover between the two nations totalled $1.4 billion, with more than 400 U.S.-Kazakh joint ventures created throughout the years. The U.S. also aided Kazakhstan during its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Kazakhstan began Jan. 1 as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, which Krol called an historic happening in the life of the independent, 25-year-old country.
“We are so pleased to begin working with Kazakhstan on the United Nations Security Council. Kazakhstan’s membership on the Security Council is a historic opportunity and testament to the success of pragmatic ‘multi-vector’ foreign policy,” he said. “Over the past quarter century, we have worked together for the benefit of the peace, security and prosperity of our two peoples and the world and I am confident Kazakhstan’s tenure on the Security Council will be a productive one.”
The ambassador highlighted the country’s competitive edge in numerous sectors and spheres, such as the food industry, petro chemistry, metallurgy and agriculture.
“As an example, we are cooperating with the Ministry of Agriculture and grain producers to increase production of nutritionally fortified wheat. With U.S. investment and technology, crops from Kazakhstan could significantly improve the nutrition and health of people throughout Central Asia. We are also closely cooperating with the animal husbandry sector. Over 8,000 American cows and bulls have been imported into Kazakhstan to improve local stock,” he said.
Starting Dec. 29, the U.S. and Kazakhstan agreed on issuance of 10-year visas for their citizens, a step in bilateral relations that will facilitate travel and boost tourism and business ties, said Krol.
“The ties between our peoples are some of the most important links between our two countries and the introduction of 10-year visas will only strengthen those links. The introduction of 10-year-validity business and tourism visas lets Kazakh and American citizens spend more time planning their travel and less time worrying about visa forms. We strongly believe the 10-year visas will help more Kazakhs and Americans get to know each other better and do business together. Thousands of Kazakhs would be able to travel to the U.S. to obtain education or improve their professional qualifications. Here, in Kazakhstan, hundreds of Americans have worked as English teachers, some through U.S. government programmes like Fulbright or Peace Corps. American teachers would be able to continue to support Kazakhstan’s vision of becoming a trilingual society,” he added.
Kazakhstan’s major event of the year, EXPO 2017 in the capital Astana, will carve out the country’s image throughout the three-month exposition from June-September. Krol, the commissioner for the U.S. pavilion, praised the ongoing construction of the site.
“The U.S. is moving forward expeditiously with the required internal procedures to allow us to participate in EXPO 2017. The State Department has chosen a contractor for the U.S. pavilion, APCO Worldwide; architects and planners designated by APCO will be here in January to survey the pavilion and finalise the plans necessary for them to take possession,” he said.
“I want to commend Kazakhstan on the excellent preparatory work it has already done at the EXPO site and I believe EXPO 2017 will serve as a valuable platform for businesses, governments and other organisations to advance global cooperation on clean energy. Several U.S. companies including GE, Chevron and Fluor, have pledged to sponsor the U.S. pavilion,” he added.
Under the new administration, Krol noted the interests of the U.S. in “promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region and globally will not change, nor will our commitment to a vital partnership with Kazakhstan.”
“Relations between the U.S. and Kazakhstan will continue to grow and strengthen based on the firm foundation of mutual respect and shared interests built over the 25 years of Kazakhstan’s independence,” he added.
“In 2016, the U.S. and Kazakhstan marked the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries. This development highlights the strong partnership that our two countries have forged over the last 25 years and symbolises the United States’ commitment to friendship with the people of Kazakhstan in the decades to come. We look forward to new developments in our partnership in 2017,” said Krol.
Hon. Dana Rohrabacher of California
in the House of Representatives
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Mr. Rohrabacher. Mr. Speaker, Ambassador Kairat Umarov of Kazakhstan has faithfully served in Washington, D.C. for the past four years. His steady leadership and commitment to building the relationship between our two countries has resulted in stronger ties and raised the profile of Kazakhstan and President Nazarbayev in the West. As he now prepares to complete his time as Ambassador, I wish to mark the occasion by recognizing his many achievements and extending my personal thanks to
The United States and Kazakhstan share a strategic partnership and a shared interest in preventing nuclear proliferation. Ambassador Umarov has fostered a close working relationship between our government and the Kazakh Embassy which has been a key ingredient for many positive steps. Although he will soon depart Washington, I must mention the Ambassador’s significant contributions to the EXPO 2017 event which
will take place later this year in Kazakhstan.
Over the course of Ambassador Umarov’s time in Washington, I can attest that he is the consummate diplomat, always gracious, even in trying circumstances. While I am sad that his term in our nation’s capital has finished he leaves behind a record of improved relations, not only between governments, but between the people of Kazakhstan and the United States.
Lastly, the Ambassador will celebrate his birthday on January 12th and I wish him the very happiest of celebrations.
Centil Law Firm BI@centil.law
The Kazakh government will terminate the state regulation of AI-80 gasoline prices starting from 2017, according to the Kazakh Energy Ministry. There are plans to lift the ban on the export of light oil products by 2019.
In August 2016, Kazakhstan stopped regulating diesel fuel prices, and stopped regulating AI-92/93 gasoline prices even earlier in September 2015. Due to the decision to deregulate the price of AI-92 gasoline and diesel fuel, the risk of the deficit of petroleum, oil and lubricants decreased to a minimum.
Centil Law Firm BI@centil.law
Kazakhstan’s southern Zhambyl region is planning to build a ski base and recreation centre. These projects will attract tourists to the region, said the Director of the Regional Chamber of Entrepreneurs Karlygash Aralbekova at the International Investment Forum “TARAZ INVEST-2016” on 25 November 2016.
Four tourism projects are included in the Regional Map of Business Development: the ‘Kazakh Auli Koksai’ recreational tourist base worth 935 million tenge, the ‘Apple Orchard’ recreational tourist centre worth 85 million tenge, as well as projects for the construction of roadside services in the Zhualynsk and Merke districts of the Zhambyl region, worth 402 and 700 million tenge respectively.
Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in USA is located in New York. KazCham is an independent chamber associated with state agencies and businesses in Kazakhstan with the aim to provide members with current information on the political and investment climate, assist them in establishing government and business contacts, conduct searches of buyers and partners, organize forums and seminars, PR campaigns. Contact us at email@example.com or follow on twitter.com @kazcham.