Trade & Economic Cooperation
For United States, Kazakhstan is a reliable partner and regional leader in Central Asia and the United States is one of the largest and fastest-growing trade partners of Kazakhstan. In 2013, the trade turnover volume between Kazakhstan and the US amounted to $2.7 billion, an increase of 9 percent as compared to the previous year.
Kazakhstan exported $1.4 billion worth of goods and services to United States in 2013. The exports were concentrated in natural resources. Top exports included oil products ($1 billion), iron and steel, uranium, tantalum and other uranium ores.
The overall volume of imports from the US was $1.3 billion. Non-agricultural imports represented $882 million, a 7 percent increase from 2012, and were concentrated in machinery ($333 million), aircraft ($204 million), electrical machinery ($127 million), vehicles ($71 million), and railway (locomotive parts) ($70 million). Agricultural exports, which totaled $80 million in 2013 were concentrated in poultry meat ($68 million).
The US is the fourth biggest foreign direct investor in Kazakhstan. Since 1993 the US has invested $ 25 billion in foreign direct investment. Between 2005 and 2013 the US was the second largest investor in the Kazakh economy, with majority of investment targeting the energy and mining sectors.
Kazakhstan annually hosts various investment and trade-economic events, where Kazakhstani government officials and business leaders present current and future investment opportunities open to US investment and establish frameworks for future cooperation with US businesses. During the investment road shows in 2012, GlaxoSmithKline, Innovaro, Transcosmos have signed memorandums of understanding with Kazakh businesses. During Kazakhstan-US Convention in 2013 the Government has officially presented EXPO-2017 and its opportunities for American energy companies.
Kazakhstan has worked with the US to develop into a prosperous market that embraces free-market competition. Under the framework of the annual bilateral consultations (ABC), founded in 2010, that has been elevated to Strategic Partnership Dialogue in 2012, Kazakhstan and the Obama Administration focus on creation of favorable conditions for the development of investment and trade as well as economic development more broadly. The US has pledged to support Kazakhstan in its effort to obtain the WTO membership and to deepen trade and investment ties, particularly in the sectors prioritized by Kazakhstan Strategy 2050.
Kazakhstan works closely with the United States to support its leadership role in economic development efforts in the Central Asia region. Together with Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan the countries established the United States-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) in 2004. In 2014, at the 9th Council Meeting, the countries focused on advancing accession of the countries into WTO, customs, investment, standards, and sanitary measures coordination, as well as procurement.
The United States pays great attention to energy cooperation and has supported Kazakhstan in its efforts to increase its role in ensuring global energy security. The Energy Partnership Commission that was established in 2003, plays an important role in coordinating energy cooperation between the countries. At the 10th Annual Meeting of the Commission in 2014 the countries agreed to continue promoting cooperation in four broad areas: nuclear security, hydrocarbon resources, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and electric power. In the context of Kazakhstan’s plan to transition towards Green Economy, the countries have established a permanent expert dialogue and advanced implementation of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean energy projects.
The US has actively promoted diversification of pipeline export-routes in the Caspian Sea region, in order to increase the energy security of consumers in Europe and the Middle East and to diversify the market opportunities for Kazakhstani exporters. With American support, Kazakhstan signed an agreement with Azerbaijan in June 2006 to transport oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. For Kazakhstan, this agreement was necessary to safeguard its export markets due to Russia’s refusal to increase the transportation capacity of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) and the BTC’s capacity to handle increased production.
Since 2006 Kazakhstan has been co-funding programs under USAID’s Economic Development Program jointly with USAID, demonstrating country’s interest in USAID’s expertise and support in developing small and medium enterprises, economic reforms, and regional trade. For the year 2014, programs targeting development of small businesses, foreign investment attraction and energy efficiency increase were allocated around $4.1 million. Kazakhstan received approximately $2 billion of all-agency funding from the US between 1993 and 2012.
Another prominent initiative is the Science and Technology Commission which was launched June 24-25, 2013, in Astana by the U.S. State Department and the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan. By creating a dialogue platform with several working groups (biomedical partnership, disease control, peer review, innovations, etc.) Kazakhstan and the Unites States affirm their commitment to strengthen scientific and technical cooperation between scientists, engineers, and students at research institutes and in the private sector.
In addition to the Science and Technology Commission, the United States welcomes Kazakhstan’s climate change initiatives such as the "Green Bridge Initiative" officially presented during “RIO+20” UN Conference and “EXPO-2017”, where the U.S. will be hosting its own pavilion. The United States highly appreciates the decision of Kazakhstan to host the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) headquarters office in Astana.