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Kyrgyzstan|politics|April 2, 2024 / 12:58 PM
Kazakhstan has become China's main trade and economic partner in Central Asia - Tokayev

AKIPRESS.COM - Today Kazakh-Chinese relations represent a model of effective partnership, within which Kazakhstan has become China's main trade and economic partner in Central Asia, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Joomart Tokayev  said  at the plenary session of the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan Province of China.

According to Tokayev, Kazakh-Chinese mutual trade turnover reached a historical record of $41 billion last year. The cargo volume between the two countries increased by 22%, amounting to almost 30 million tons.

The head of state noted that the Belt and Road Initiative was initially unveiled during President Xi Jinping's visit to Kazakhstan over a decade ago.

"This project serves as a key bridge between East and West, and Kazakhstan accounts for 80% of all continental traffic between China and Europe. This is a critical advantage that we must fully utilize," the President stated.

Kassym-Joomart Tokayev added that Kazakhstan's investments are strategically aligned with the Belt and Road Initiative, and aim to build a modern, multimodal, environmentally friendly, and sustainable infrastructure system.

The President said that global economy is expected to record the slowest half-decade of GDP growth in 30 years. However, Asia will account for 60% of global GDP growth in 2024.

"The continent accounts for 53% of global goods traded and several of the world's largest and most vibrant economies. Foreign direct investment in Asia has grown significantly in recent years. It is also home to some of the world's leading technology hubs, accounting for 70% of global patent filings. The region has substantial human resources. 21 of the 30 largest cities worldwide are in Asia. Of the anticipated $30 trillion in middle-class consumption growth by 2030, only $1 trillion is expected to come from today's Western economies. Together, these factors point to a so-called "Asian renaissance," Tokayev emphasized.

The head of state paid special attention to the new economic course of Kazakhstan.

"The country had 5.1% economic growth last year, almost twice the projected rate of global growth. In the mid-term, we aim to sustain at least 6% growth and double our economy by 2029. To achieve this, I initiated a New Economic Course, one that requires structural reforms, but that also builds a more dynamic and stronger nation. Kazakhstan's open-door policy, vast resources and free market reforms have attracted many foreign companies, including Chinese. We have also recently created a high-powered investment board to bolster implementation of investment projects through prompt decision-making and comprehensive end-to-end state support. In this regard, we invite our Asian partners to invest into our economy and open new avenues for mutually beneficial cooperation," he said.

The President emphasized that the world needs a new multilateral trading system based on the principles of fairness and openness.

"Today, trade barriers, protectionism and treaty withdrawals are gaining momentum, posing significant challenges to the global economy. Addressing these challenges requires elimination of unfair trade barriers, as well as making supply chains more transparent through digitalization," believes Kassym-Joomart Tokayev.

He believes that new approaches should be applied to the global financial system. As stated in the speech, the focus should be on equal opportunities for all countries, rather than benefiting only a few. The Kazakh leader called on the international community to take more effective action on sustainable finance initiatives.

The Kazakh leader also stressed the importance of strengthening technological cooperation, especially in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), to ensure sustainable growth of the global economy. In this context, he supported China's "Global Artificial Intelligence Governance Initiative".

Tokayev stated Kazakhstan's interest in cooperation with leading Asian technology giants in order to implement joint innovative IT projects.

The President named the extraction of critical raw materials as another promising area of co-operation.

"Rare earth metals have become an essential component for a wide range of technologies. They are indispensable to achieve net-zero in strategic sectors such as industry, digital, space and defense. We continue to work with international partners on the most effective way to harness our significant deposits of uranium, lithium, titanium, and other rare earth elements," the head of state added.

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