BEIJING – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev underscored on the first of a two-day official visit to China on Wednesday the “historic good ties” and vibrant trade relations between the neighboring countries, which in 2018 increased 11.4 percent to $12 billion.
“China is our neighbor, our friend, the second largest economy in the world. Kazakhstan attaches great importance to this visit,” Tokayev said during a meeting with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi.
Speaking at the opening of the sixth session of the Kazakhstan-China Business Council, Tokayev noted that China had become one of Kazakhstan’s largest economic and commercial partners.
According to the Kazakh Economy Ministry, trade between China and Kazakhstan during the first half of this year increased by 31 percent to reach $6.8 billion, while total Chinese investments during the same period increased by 22 percent to $362 million.
He also highlighted the fact that the Central Asian country had made significant efforts to create a favorable investment climate, so much so that it is currently ranked 28th on the World Bank’s list of the best countries with which to do business.
Since its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has attracted more than $300 billion in direct foreign investment, leading the countries of Central Asia, the president said.
Tokayev also stressed the development of transportation corridors between Asia and Europe, with railroads and highways that will allow goods to move from China to Europe and vice versa in about 15 days.
He said one of Kazakhstan’s priorities was the development of a new economy based on innovation and new technologies. The Kazakh leader pointed to China as a recognized “world leader” in this field.
In this regard, he said they are interested in establishing technology parks and high-tech centers together with Chinese companies.
Later Wednesday he was due to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
On Thursday, he is scheduled to travel to the Chinese city of Hangzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, where he is to visit the Chinese digital technology company Hikvision and meet with the founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, who announced on Tuesday that he is to step down as chairman of the multinational.