This year Kazakhstan celebrates a decade of independence. For ten
years our state has managed to maintain a stable economy, progress in
its macroeconomic indexes, a favourable investment climate and
relatively developed market infrastructure.
1. Reforms in foreign trade policy over the Republic of Kazakhstan’s
ten years of independence
Let us briefly review foreign trade policy from the beginning of
state independence (1991) till the present.
At the beginning of the 1990s the government set both internal and
external prices for commodities assigned for export and set export
taxes and charges. The national economy scored low in competitivity.
The import of a great amount of consumer goods displaced domestic
production. High inflation resulted in depreciation of incomes and
assets of enterprises. The absence of a statutory and institutional
base for foreign trade activities induced the government to intensify
activity in this direction.
The liberalization of foreign trade continued. Government no longer
allocated export quotas. The list of controlled commodities was
reduced. The average rate of customs duty was cut from 4.9% to 4.2%.
Authorities abolished the requirement to surrender 50% of export
proceeds and did away with customs and fiscal privileges. The
transition also covered the international commodity nomenclature for
foreign trade. The registration of export contracts, except for state
enterprises, was abolished. Procedures for ordering exports became
simpler. All companies and individuals (except for state enterprises)
were given the right to export goods without mandatory submission of
details of the deal. Control of export and import goods in Kazakhstan
to ensure their agreement with international standards and ruleswere
made simpler. The republic approved a list of commodities subject to
mandatory certification to meet standards of safety, health, property
protection and safeguarding the environment. The new customs code was
All this had a major influence on exports and imports. In 1995-1999
these grew annually (except 1998), but the excess of imports over
exports reached 4-5%. (13% in 1998) and the trade deficit increased
from US$ 185 million in 1997 to US$ 750 million in
Today there are practically no obstacles to goods and capital.
Kazakhstan has become a country with a market economy (recognized by
the European Union in October 2000), enabling the removal of barriers
to the sale of its goods to US and European.
Protection from unfair competition for Kazakhstan’s producers is
conducted according to measures common in global practice. It is
negotiating entry into the World Trade Organization. Legislation gives
a number of privileges to foreign investment in priority sectors.
In 2000, on the basis of the Customs Union between Belorussia,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tadjikistan, the Euroasian Economic
Community was founded. Trade and economic co-operation takes place
duty-free with unified standards for goods, a harmonized foreign trade
policy, and in accordance with the principle that indirect taxes are
imposed by the exporting country.
The main objectives of the Community for foreign trade policy are:
2. Kazakhstan’s export results
Let us briefly review Kazakhstani exports for the first half of
The total was US$ 8 billion, an increase of 19% over the same
period of 2000. The trade surplus was a about US$700 million.
Countries outside the CIS account for 59% of Kazakhstan’s trade,
69% of its exports and 44% of its imports. The trade balance with
countries outside the CIS is positive but negative with the CIS. The
traditional markets for Kazakhstani exports are Russia, Italy,
Germany, China and Switzerland.
Trade with the CIS states has continued to grow but import growth
exceeded the rate of increase in exports with regard to this countries
(142.1% as against 116%).
The major Kazakhstani exports remain fuel and energy supplies, coal
and non-ferrous metals. In the period under consideration the greatest
growth in export related to meat and met products (8.4-fold), natural
gas and titanium (2.4-fold), coal (150%), refined oil products (35 %),
phosphorus and cotton fibres (each up 30%).
Thus, Kazakhstan, as an exporter predominantly of raw materials, is
subject to world business developments. The slowing pace of
international economic growth has led to a reduction in external
demand, and a decrease in demand for Kazakhstani exports on the part
of a number of countries.
3. Priorities in export policy
Kazakhstan’s current export profile requires a state policy which
simultaneously seeks to improve the competitivity of its basic export
goods and to develop non-conventional, new goods for export requiring
a high level of processing.
As the export plays an essential role in economic growth of
Kazakhstan, relations with interntional organizations are managed
personally by the President.
The state is very active in building maintenance and increasing
transport corridors for exports.
The tenge’s devaluation, resulting from the introduction of a
free-floating exchange rate, spurred a resuscitation of production and
an increase in price competitivity for domestic goods. Currency policy
now aims to preserve an equilibrium in the balance of payments.
The basic priorities of the state in problems of export policy are:
Contributing to steady growth of export by:
- Extension of commodity markets
- Concluding bilateral and multilateral agreements on trade
- Removal of present discriminatory barriers against Kazakhstan
goods by negotiation
- Increases in delivery of traditional Kazakhstan export goods
- Development of external market for new non-traditional goods.
Maintaining maximum returns from exports to be used for export
- Treaties against double taxation
- Ending the system of controlling foreign trade contracts aimed at
reducing the taxable basis
- Sanctions against exporters who abuse international practice and
Bringing export controls in line with international practice by:
- Banning ways of putting ungrounded limits on the export process
for Kazakhstan goods
- Ensuring that reforms of the economy in industrial, agricultural,
transport and other sectors are strictly implemented.
These priorities will be realized through:
а) The expansion of credit and export insurance, information
and reviews of new markets, and strengthening of the statutory base
for meeting the conditions of world trade
b) Export policy measures to reduce the risks from commodity market
c) Creation of an export development programme
d) Establishing the legal basis for the development of electronic
е) Use of tools such as credits and incentives to persuade
domestic exporters of raw materials to switch to goods with high
f) Defining the terms for an organization devoted to trade
development (OCDT). One of its main activities will be the
organization of a system of credits and export guarantees.
In conditions of harsher world competition with regard to goods and
services, states must adopt a trade development policy grounded in a
knowledge of the advantages and needs both of their own economy and of
their trading partners.
We hope for assistance from the International Trade Centre in the
development of an information infrastructure for Kazakhstan exporters.
We well be glad to receive proposals from participants on creation of
During the Forum we, as the representatives of the Republic of
Kazakhstan, will be interested in following problems:
We hope that the Forum will provide answers not only to these
questions on export development strategy, but also enable us to make
new acquaintances and strengthen business cooperation.
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