US strategy in Kazakhstan: more investments and economic partnership

The White House is expanding trade partnership and investments in Kazakhstan according to the new US Strategy in Central Asia which aspires to improve independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity in the so-called Stan Countries and strengthen Washington’s presence in one of the most strategic regions in the world.

On October 26th, 2020, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin and the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross participated in the online opening ceremony of the United States-Kazakhstan Business Council at the US Chamber of Commerce.

Askar Mamin noted that the Kazakh Government aims at boosting its efforts to attract US investors and production in the country, especially after the entire world will overcome the pandemic. During the last years, the Kazakh government has worked to improve the country competitiveness and stability. In fact, international credit agencies such as Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P, have emphasised the low level of public debt, the stability of the fiscal system, and the effectiveness of the Government’s anti-crisis measures in Kazakhstan.

During the online meeting, the Prime Minister spoke about the Strategic Development Plan of Kazakhstan until 2025, a targeted approach to attracting foreign capital and measures to further improve the investment climate.

The US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the Chief Executive Officer of the US American Chamber of Commerce Thomas J. Donohue, and the Chief Executive Officer of Chevron Michael Wirth noted that, with the creation of the United States-Kazakhstan Business Council, the investment cooperation between the countries will reach a qualitatively new level.

More than 100 companies attended the event. Among them, we could mention Chevron, GE, Shell, J. P. Morgan Chase, Princeton Healthcare Alliance, Pfizer, Tyson Foods, IBM, Oracle, Facebook, Google, DuPont Pioneer. The United States Kazakhstan Business Council (USKZBC) under the US Chamber of Commerce aims at bringing together American companies that conduct business in Kazakhstan.

Why this matters? Because the United States is one the largest investor and trade partners of Kazakhstan. Since its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington has directly invested more than 53 billion dollars in Kazakhstan, or 15% of the total amount of foreign capital raised. As matter of fact, there is a consistent presence of US companies in the Kazakh market in the field of engineering, chemical products, construction, IT, agribusiness, mining, metallurgy, oil and natural gas.

Washington’s attempt of improving its economic and financial presence in Kazakhstan underlines the United States’ desire of playing a major role in Central Asia and countering Beijing’s strategy Belt and Road Initiative and Moscow’s diplomacy in the post-Soviet republics based on historical and socio-cultural roots and military presence.