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Kazakhstan, Iran Forge $3 Billion Trade Deal, Unveil Action Plan

By Nigar Bayramli December 6, 2023

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The 19th session of the Joint Commission on Economic, Trade, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation between Iran and Kazakhstan was held on December 2-3, 2023. / DKNews.kz

Kazakhstan and Iran have signed a document aimed at increasing trade between the two countries to $3 billion. 

The protocol of the 19th joint intergovernmental commission and an action plan, signed by Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Serik Zhumangarin and Iranian Agriculture Minister Mohammad Ali Nikbakht, sets the goal of boosting trade between the Caspian littoral states, as reported by Kazakhstan Today on December 4.

The agreement was reached during the plenary session of the 19th meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on trade and economic, scientific, technical, and cultural cooperation between the two nations.

“The first step to fulfil this instruction will be the signing of an action plan to bring mutual trade to $3 billion. The document stipulates that exporting companies in several areas be supported, trade be increased, trade restrictions be lifted, and bilateral clearing arrangement and others be introduced,” the Kazakh deputy minister said while addressing the meeting.

He added that Kazakh companies “were keen on establishing uninterrupted exports of manufactured goods to the Iranian market.” In response, the Iranian agriculture minister mentioned that Iranian companies could supply fish and dairy products, honey, fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, and other food products to Kazakhstan.

During the meeting of the intergovernmental commission, discussions also encompassed expanding cooperation in transport and logistics, specifically the development of the North-South international transport corridor.

The Kazakh side expressed readiness to supply 75 different kinds of products, valued at approximately $250 million, to Iranian consumers. Simultaneously, the Iranian side expressed interest in Kazakh investments, indicating readiness to provide special conditions for doing business in Iran’s free economic zones.

In late April, Iran and Kazakhstan signed five memoranda of understanding (MoUs) related to free economic zones, youth, sports, and tourism. Trade between the two countries experienced nearly a 20% growth, reaching $528 million in 2022 compared to 2021.

In August, representatives from both countries discussed delivering Kazakh cargo to Gulf, Middle Eastern, Pakistani, Indian, and East African markets through Iranian ports, specifically Amirabad and Bandar Abbas.

Meanwhile, an infographic posted on the Iranian supreme leader’s website on November 28 criticized several Muslim countries, including Kazakhstan, for actively trading with Israel. The infographic asserted that governments of Muslim countries must prevent energy and commodities from reaching Israel.

In response, the Kazakh news and analytical website Orda.kz noted that Kazakhstan had never denied cooperation with Israel in trade. Trade between Kazakhstan and Israel exceeded $420 million, with exports accounting for about $360 million of this amount.

However, the Iranian embassy in Kazakhstan denied recent claims that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei criticized the Central Asian country for trading with Israel. It noted that the supreme leader called on Muslim countries to “refrain from trading with this regime, at least until the violence of the Zionist regime against the defenceless people in Gaza stops,” but that he “did not name any specific country.”