The official visit of Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji to Kazakhstan from Wednesday to Friday prior to the tenth anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Kazakh diplomatic relations is widely believed to usher their economic cooperation to a new stage.
China and Kazakhstan are neighboring countries, sharing a common border of more than 1,700 kilometers. Since the setup of the diplomatic relations in 1992, they have developed sound and continuous political and economic relations, especially in trade. Kazakhstan is presently the second largest trading partner of China among all the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) after Russia.
According to official statistics, in the first seven months of this year, the accumulative trade between China and Kazakhstan has reached 778 million US dollars. In 2000, two-way trade hit a historic high of 1.55 billion US dollars, 36.7 percent higher than the previous year.
The booming trade has been promoted by the efforts of the two governments, which set up an inter-governmental committee for economic and trade cooperation in 1992.
The committee has so far held five meetings to address trade issues. A new branch of the committee has recently held a meeting in Urumqi, China, and representatives of the two countries reached consensus at the meeting on issues like simplifying cross-border procedures and improving conditions to benefit bilateral trade.
China and Kazakhstan have also signed more than 10 inter- governmental agreements in economic and trade cooperation, which are deemed as a legal foundation for further development of bilateral trade.
Experts consider that trade and economic cooperation between the two countries holds good promise since their trade items complement each other. China are exporting mainly processed goods including textiles, tea, household electric appliances and foodstuffs, while mainly importing raw materials, such as petroleum, steel and wool as well as fertilizers.
Besides trade, China and Kazakhstan have been contributing to the regional security and stability as they are both members of the regional cooperative group, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization known as the "Shanghai Five". The organization is intended to expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation from political and security areas to more fields including economy, trade, science, technology and cultural exchanges.
Premier Zhu is slated to attend the first prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization during his forthcoming visit to Kazakhstan. The meeting is expected to sign documents on regional economic cooperation and more convenient procedures for trade and investment.