The Kazakh-Korean strategic partnership which turned 10 years in 2019 is developing along the path of mutually beneficial and practical cooperation in the political, trade, economic, investment, innovation, cultural and tourism spheres.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, for the past 27 years countries have developed full-fledged cooperation in various areas of the economy. Trade turnover increased 5 times (in 2008 this figure was at the level of $ 750 million).
Today, the Republic of Korea is the second largest trade and economic partner of Kazakhstan in the entire Asian region. In 2018, the Kazakh-Korean trade exceeded $ 4 billion (in January-May 2019, trade amounted to $ 1.9 billion).
The main products of Kazakhstan’s exports are oil, ferroalloys, titanium, uranium, rolled unalloyed steel, iron, gold. In turn, Kazakhstan imports wires and cables, switchboards, consoles, metal products and tools, and parts for vehicles.
Kazakhstan President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev notes that South Korea is one of the 10 priority countries for Kazakhstan in terms of developing trade, investment and technological cooperation.
During the development of bilateral relations, the number of joint ventures increased by three times. As of December 2018, 1081 legal entities, branches and representative offices with South Korean participation were registered in Kazakhstan.
Today large Korean companies such as Samsung, LG, SK Corporation, Hyundai, POSCO are having businesses in Kazakhstan.
Korean business has shown growing interest in enhancing cooperation. Two countries are already implementing large-scale projects in various sectors, including engineering, road and infrastructure construction, agriculture, the financial sector, healthcare, information and communication technologies.
Effective mechanisms for the development of trade, economic and investment cooperation have been created between two countries. So, only the inflow of direct investment from Korea to Kazakhstan amounted to about $ 7 billion. In turn, the volume of Kazakhstan investments in South Korea is about $ 3.86 billion.
In terms of industry, 3 sectors of the Kazakhstan economy are attractive for South Korean investors. The share of Korean investment capital in the field of professional, scientific and technical activities is 43.3% of the total. In second place is construction with a specific gravity of 14.2%. The third - education, health, social services, art, entertainment and recreation: a share of 1.8%.
An important mechanism for bilateral economic cooperation is the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation. 8 meetings of the Comission have already been held (the most recent was held in Seoul on March 20, 2019).
The Commission noted satisfaction with the growth of bilateral trade between Kazakhstan and Korea and expressed its readiness to make joint efforts to develop mutually beneficial economic cooperation in the trade, economic and investment sectors. So, Kazakhstan is interested in introducing Korean innovative technologies. The opening and further work in the city of Nur-Sultan of the Kazakhstan-South Korean international IT center will contribute to this.
Two of our countries pay special attention to issues of deepening cooperation in transport and infrastructure construction and the rapprochement of East and West. Nur-Sultan and Seoul note the proximity of the strategic priorities of the Nurly Zhol infrastructure development program and the South Korean New Northern Policy program.
For the development of the modern Silk Road, the countries have reached an understanding on the issue of the active use by the Korean side of the capabilities of the existing Kazakhstan terminal in the port of Lianyungang on the Pacific coast of China.
This transport direction will allow Korean manufacturers to transport their goods 3-4 times faster to consumers in major European and Middle Eastern markets.
In addition, cooperation between banks and financial institutions of the two countries in stimulating the opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses to implement investment projects will contribute to expanding cooperation. Kazakhstan calls on South Korean businessmen to use the platform of the Astana International Financial Center to enter the emerging markets of the EAEU, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
In 2019, the first state visit of President Moon Jae-In gave a powerful impetus to the development of the Kazakh-South Korean political dialogue and economic interaction, were not just a diplomatic statement, but a real assessment of the future prospects of cooperation between our countries.
The main priorities for strengthening trade and economic ties are reflected in the “Fresh Wind” Program of New Economic Cooperation of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Korea, signed this year, designed for 2019-2022.
This new program involves integrated interaction in 10 areas and the implementation of specific 58 projects. It will cover such areas as: transport and logistics, construction, industry, infrastructure development, mining and metallurgy and subsoil use, trade and economic cooperation, energy, innovation and ICT, agriculture, finance, healthcare.
All this creates a solid basis for further expansion of the Kazakh-Korean interaction and joint access to higher technological redistributions. It is time for our two countries to expand the horizons of our cooperation towards peace and the joint prosperity of Eurasia.