China, Kazakhstan ink $14 bn deals

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana, Kazakhstan on 14 December 2014 [Xinhua]
China has signed cooperation deals worth about $14 billion with Central Asia’s biggest economy Kazakhstan during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s state visit.

With a population of 17 million, Kazakhstan is the second-largest post-Soviet oil producer after Russia.

“The two sides should continue deepening energy cooperation, advancing the construction of a gas pipeline linking them, implementing their memorandum of understanding on nuclear cooperation, and exploring interaction opportunities in photovoltaic and coal chemical fields,” Li told his Kazakh counterpart Karim Masimov on Sunday.

“China is also willing to tap complementary economic advantages and expand cooperation in non-energy fields with Kazakhstan,” Li said.

Central banks of China and Kazakhstan on Sunday also decided to renew their three-year currency swap deal, said a statement on the website of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

Li and Masimov were present during the signing of the agreement in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.

The two sides also signed currency settlement and payment agreement, which means local currencies, the tenge and the yuan, can be used for settlement in not only border trade but also ordinary trade activities, said the statement.

China would invest $3.8 billion in the development of Kazakhstan’s potash deposits and in fertliser output, said Kazakh Investment Minister Aset Isekeshev.

The two neighbours also aim to further advance bilateral aerospace cooperation.

In a joint communique issued during the Chinese Premier’s official visit to Kazakhstan, the two countries agreed to jointly establish a technical cooperation center as both sides have huge cooperation potential in high-end technology and innovation.

Kazakhstan and China have also signed a memorandum of understanding on reviving the ancient Silk Road Economic Belt, an agreement on mutual recognition of customs operators, and a border cooperation agreement.

Bilateral trade between China and Kazakhstan “is increasing annually by 20 per cent” said Li. Kazakhstan signed on as one of 21 founding members of the new China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) launched in October this year.

Kazakhstan has become China’s second largest trade partner in the Commonwealth of the Independent States and its first investment destination in Eurasia, while China is the second largest trade partner and the largest export market of Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan holds 3 per cent of global recoverable oil reserves and produced 81.7 million tones of oil in 2013.

Kazakhstan’s Senate ratified an agreement in June this year between the Central Asian nation and Russia on cooperation in transporting Russian oil to China.

The Chinese Premier will also attend the 13th prime ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Kazakh capital of Astana.

TBP and Agencies