Kazakhstan wants to boost cargo transhipment to Azerbaijan

Kazakhstan wants to boost cargo transhipment to Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 17

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

Kazakhstan intends to increase transportation of various cargoes across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, the Kazakh Ambassador to Azerbaijan Amangeldy Zhumabayev said Dec. 17 at a press conference in Baku.

Under the new economic policy, which was announced in Kazakh president's recent message to the people, it is planned to build three new terminals at the Kazakh port of Kuryk. The communication with Baku will be maintained via these terminals.

The ambassador said that in general, Kazakhstan intends to be a transit country through which the cargos will go from east to west and from north to south.

"Today, the trade turnover between China and Europe stands at $600 billion," he said. "Currently, these goods are being delivered by sea. If the transit countries, including Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, will be able to cover at least 10 percent of this amount, they will receive tremendous profits," Zhumabayev added.

"Right now, a number of new motorways and railways are being built in the country," he said, adding that in particular, the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway has been recently put into operation.

Among other goods, Kazakhstan plans to increase the oil transportation through Azerbaijan.

Kazakhstan transported around 3.5 million metric tons of oil through Azerbaijan as of 2013. The major part of the oil was transported via railway. Nevertheless, once the development of Kashagan field is resumed, the transportation of Kazakh oil through Azerbaijan will increase.

Zhumabayev reminded that it is planned to produce commercial oil at Kashagan roughly in mid-2016. He added that Kazakhstan has its own terminal in the port of Batumi and the country needs to transport oil through Azerbaijan in order to load this terminal.

In the future, it is planned to construct a large terminal in Kazakhstan's Kuryk port for transportation of oil from Kashagan field.

The ambassador reminded that Azerbaijan also has plans to become a transit country, as currently, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and a new large Alat port near Baku are under construction.

Zhumabayev said Kazakhstan's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union which will start functioning from Jan.1 2015, will by no means affect Kazakhstan's trade relations with the countries which are not included in this integration association, as well as Azerbaijan.

"The EAU gives us great economic benefits," the ambassador said. "But this does not mean that we will not conduct our own foreign policy. On the contrary, the EAU opens new prospects for the relations with other countries."

"In early 2015 foreign manufacturers bringing their goods to Kazakhstan or foreign investors, producing goods in Kazakhstan will have a duty-free access to the markets of Russia and Belarus," he said.

"The EAU establishment does not mean that its member-states close the borders for other countries," he said. "These third countries will be able to import their goods at the same duties, which are available now. The competition will be higher, but new opportunities will appear."

The diplomat said that the trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan has slightly decreased this year.

The turnover amounted to $400 million in 2013. But this amount will not exceed this year, and it can be explained. Azerbaijan mainly exports fruits and vegetables to Kazakhstan. As Russia restricted the import of goods from Europe, more fruits and vegetables from Azerbaijan are supplied to Russia, rather than Kazakhstan. There are unregistered goods supplied from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan through Russia.

The ambassador also said that a lot of joint ventures operate between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan in recent years and many Azerbaijani companies are actively run in Kazakhstan. For example, the Azerbaijani company Akkord is involved in the construction of roads in Kazakhstan, according to the ambassador.

Negotiations and meetings at different levels take place between the two countries on a regular basis, the diplomat said. He went on to add that every year, the heads of states exchange visits and the president of Kazakhstan should make the next visit in return. However, the date of the visit has not yet been agreed upon, according to the ambassador.

Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan always support each other at the international level, according to Zhumabayev.

In particular, Kazakhstan supports Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, he said.

Zhumabayev expressed his gratitude to Azerbaijan for the support of Kazakhstan's candidacy to host the Expo exhibition, as well as the intention to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. He expressed confidence that Kazakhstan will also support Azerbaijan in holding the European games in 2015.

Edited by SI

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Elena Kosolapova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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