The investments by the Chinese government in Kazakhstan known as Belt and road have started to pay off which has enabled the country in Central Asia to enhance its global standing as an attractive market for American and other global investors. The president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev announced a new era of relations between his country and the United States during his visit to the White House on January 16 this year. Over 20 commercial contracts were signed by US corporations in that fateful afternoon with Kazakhstan which was valued at an estimated at $7.5 billion at a business forum.
In a joint press statement by the two countries, there were three major areas of collaboration that were listed with the most significant being in the agricultural sector where the commerce between Kazakhstan and China is thriving. Agricultural produce from Kazakhstan is exported to mainland China through inland ports that have been constructed as part of the important development plan in the region that was launched by China five years ago. Railroads have also presented a transport channel for the Kazakh exports to Beijing.
One of the resident senior fellows at the Atlantic Council, which is a think tank based in the US, David Merkel said that the Kazakh government had found success in the opening up of the agricultural market in Beijing to Kazakhstan for beef, vegetables, and wheat than any other country. Merkel added that the market will now be perceived more favorably for investment after the development of the transport infrastructure in the region. The Kazakhstan government is leveraging their close trade ties with the Chinese market to inform the US that their country is favorable to American investment where it will benefit from both the Chinese and the Kazakh markets. The Chinese government has undertaken the development of inland port’s infrastructure in major cities such as Xi’an as part of the Belt and Road investment.
These inland ports are linked to similar hubs in Kazakhstan by railroads that stretch all the way to the European markets. The transport infrastructure also spreads eastwards which means that any investment in the region will have a diverse market for their products and services. The Kazakhs sent their first wheat consignment to Vietnam through mainland China early last year using railroads that have connected a port on China’s east coast to Central Asia. Business and corporations from China have already taken advantage of the opportunities that have been opened up by the Belt and Road initiative.