Kazakhstan pledges to prioritize business with Vietnam

08:27 | 18/11/2018 Cooperation

(VEN) - “Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has recently been active in improving the investment environment, in which Kazakhstan and Vietnam can boost cooperation bilaterally and within the scope of the Vietnam-EAEU (Eurasia Economic Union) Free Trade Agreement,” Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to Vietnam Beketzhan Zhumakhanov told a recent press meeting in Hanoi.

kazakhstan pledges to prioritize business with vietnam
Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to Vietnam Beketzhan Zhumakhanov with journalists in Hanoi

The free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), which includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, took effect in October 2016, marking a milestone in relations between Vietnam and the former Soviet republics. Under the agreement, businesses from Vietnam, Kazakhstan and other union member countries benefit from preferential tariff rates, which will gradually drop to zero.

Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Kazakhstan has more than doubled in recent years - from US$366.2 million in 2016 to US$542.7 million in 2017, compared with US$270 million in 2014 and US$220 million in 2015. The 2017 trade growth was the highest compared with other EAEU members.

Major Vietnamese exports to Kazakhstan include telephones, computers, electronics and accessories, agricultural products such as rice, cashew, pepper, vegetables and fruits, handbags, machinery and spare parts, and iron and steel. Vietnam imports chemicals, ore, minerals and wheat from Kazakhstan.

Prior to 2016, Vietnam had a trade surplus with Kazakhstan in terms of mobile phones and accessories, electronic ware and accessories, farm products, seafood, textiles and garments, and leather and footwear. However, in 2017 Kazakhstan for the first time recorded a trade surplus with Vietnam, selling items like iron, steel, ore, agricultural machinery, wheat and barley.

“Agriculture has business potential in both countries. Kazakhstan takes advantage of animal husbandry and production of crops, which do not grow in Vietnam, while Vietnam has an advantage in tropical vegetables and fruits and seafood. The two sides will help each other without direct competition,” said Ambassador Zhumakhanov.

According to the ambassador, Vietnam and Kazakhstan have agreed on railway transportation of goods between the two countries through China and also to and from countries in Europe and mid-Asia.Kazakhstan has chosen KTZ Express JSC as the logistic administrator of this route, while Vietnam has appointed Ratraco as the counterpart.

“Ocean shipping of goods currently takes 45-60 dayscompared with only 18 days for railway transportation. For this reason, the railway will facilitate Vietnamese and ASEAN exports to Europe after Vietnam concludes the FTA with the European Union,” said the ambassador.

Thu Hang