The business leaders from Kazakhstan and Afghanistan met in Astana on 2 August 2023 to discuss trade and investment opportunities. The Taliban delegation is led by Azizi Nuriddin, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a major importer of Kazakh flour and vegetable oil, and the two countries have a mutual trade volume of around $1 billion.
The Kazakh government is interested in expanding trade and economic ties with Afghanistan, and there are currently 52 joint ventures between the two countries. Afghanistan is also looking for investment in the energy, infrastructure, and telecommunications sectors.
The Vice Minister of Trade of kazakhstan, Kairat Torebaev , said at the opening of a number of business meetings, “Afghanistan is an important and promising partner for Kazakhstan. We are interested in the comprehensive development of trade and economic cooperation.”
Afghanistan is interested in finding business partners and investors from Kazakhstan.
“The Kazakh side provided an excellent opportunity for negotiations between our enterprises from various industries. Within the framework of business meetings, we can expand business ties, discuss needs, trade barriers, as well as the benefits of cooperation. I hope that the private sector of Kazakhstan and Afghanistan will be able to take advantage of these opportunities to the full extent,” Informburo.kz quotes Azizi Nuriddin, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan, said.
According to representatives of Afghanistan, the country’s authorities are ready to provide investors with attractive conditions for investing and various preferences for doing business. For example, foreign enterprises operating in the manufacturing sector and the mining industry are exempt from tax on the purchase of machinery. Investors can open bank accounts, receive income tax benefits.
“Most of all, Afghanistan is interested in investments in the energy sector, the construction of highways and railways, as well as telecommunications,” the Trade Ministry said in a statement.
The business negotiations were attended by over 150 Kazakh companies and over 200 representatives of Afghan business circles.
According to the information provided earlier by the ministry of trade of Kazakhstan, the Taliban delegation arrived on 2 August 2023.
The delegation includes the heads of the Central Bank of Afghanistan, representatives of large private banks, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) energy company, Afghan Telecom (AfTel) telecommunications company, the Afghan Chamber of Agricultural Products and Livestock, the Chamber of Commerce and Investment, as well as agricultural, pharmaceutical, industrial, transport and logistics, engineering, textile and other companies in Afghanistan.
“The purpose of today’s visit is to strengthen trade between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan and implement the agreements reached in April during your minister’s visit. We hope to strengthen our friendly relations, including in the field of trade,” Afghan minister Nuriddin Azizi told the media on arrival.
He also held talks with the Minister of Trade and Integration of Kazakhstan Serik Zhumangarin in the B2B format.
The head of the Afghan delegation told a Kazinform correspondent what was agreed upon during the meeting of the parties.
“We expect the signing of memorandums in the field of logistics, transport, investment in the Afghan economy. As you know, the annual trade turnover with Kazakhstan is about a billion dollars. Unfortunately, the goods that Kazakhstan buys from abroad contain a very small proportion of goods from Afghanistan, and we are working on this. We want Kazakhstan to purchase a certain share of agricultural goods from Afghanistan,” Nuriddin Azizi said.
The Minister of Industry and Trade of Afghanistan noted that one of the important factors in trade is the reduction in the cost of logistics, reports Kazinform.
“Another important issue that we discussed today is the banking sector. We will work on it. Cheaper logistics means cheaper goods. There is mutual benefit in resolving this issue. Because it will lead to an increase in trade,” added Nuriddin Azizi.
According to official data, the trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan in 2022 amounted to $987.9 million, which is 2.1 times higher than in the same period of the previous year ($474.3 million). At the same time, about 90% is traditionally accounted for by Kazakhstani exports, mainly processed products. Trade between the countries for 5 months of 2023 amounted to $316.6 million, with $310 million being Kazakh exports.
According to experts, Kazakhstan has an export potential of deliveries to Afghanistan worth more than $500 million in the food, petrochemical, chemical, metallurgical, machine-building and light industries.
“Our private sector also imports wheat, flour, liquefied gas, fuels and lubricants and sunflower oil from here. We export dried fruits, carpets and precious stones and minerals to Kazakhstan, which are abundant in Afghanistan. At the exhibition, which will be organized here today and tomorrow, citizens will be able to see handicrafts and be able to purchase them,” said the head of the Afghan delegation.
On August 3, a business forum will begin in Astana, and on August 4, an exhibition of Afghan goods (EXPO, Congress Center) will open its doors for all residents and guests of the capital. The exhibition will feature various products from Afghanistan, copper utensils, marble, carpets, jewelry and many other traditional products.
Earlier, Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has repeatedly noted the importance of establishing stability in Afghanistan for our region and for the world as a whole. Kazakhstan has repeatedly provided humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people and is actively involved in overcoming the humanitarian crisis in this country.
In April 2023, a Kazakh delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Trade Serik Zhumangarin visited the capital of Afghanistan – the city of Kabul, where a solemn ceremony was held to transfer another humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. This was done on behalf of the Head of State.
The Kazakh side has repeatedly noted that an economic collapse, a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan should not be allowed. The international community needs to restore and develop trade and economic ties with this country. In the field of economic cooperation, it is necessary to note the importance of implementing infrastructure projects as one of the vectors for the development of relations between Kazakhstan and Afghanistan, especially in the field of integration processes in Central and South Asia, underlines Kazinform.
/// nCa, 3 August 2023 [based on material from Kazinform, Informburo.kz, ministry of trade of Kazakhstan, pics credit Informburo.kz, Kazinform]
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