KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s exports to Kazakhstan, especially machinery and transport equipment, increased to RM62 million in 2017 from RM26.6 million in 2016.
According to statistics from Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, the other sectors, such as food and mineral fuels, recorded tremendous export growth of RM110 million and RM66 million respectively.
Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Malaysia, Daniyar Sarekenov, said the strong trade relations had reflected positively on the economies of both nations.
“According to the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan, bilateral trade amounted to over US$84 million (US$1 = RM3.91) 2016.
“The trade level for 2017 rose by up to 47 per cent (US$123.4 million) compared to 2016,” he said.
He said Malaysia exported electrical and electronic products, appliances and parts, palm oil, lubricants, rubber products, clothing and furniture to Kazakhstan while Kazakhstan exported oil, ferrous metals, surveying and measuring equipment, tools and pipe fittings to Malaysia.
“To boost bilateral ties between the two countries, a Kazakhstan-Malaysia Joint Trade and Economic Committee and a Business Council were set up to oversee the economic and investment cooperation,” he said.
As a result, the parties agreed to establish working groups on cooperation in halal industry; Islamic financing; tourism; renewable energy; oil and gas; and, investment cooperation, he said.
Sarekenov said over the past years, Malaysia and Kazakhstan had signed various memorandum of understanding (MOUs), including 11 MOUs which were worth US$1.17 billion while another US$1.775 billion were via business-matchings.
Among the MOUs signed were between Ronser Biotech Bhd, a company that specialises in multi-disciplinary environmental services in wastewater treatment with Astana Sur Anarsy’s to build a treatment plant.
Malaysia and Kazakhstan, which established diplomatic relations in 1992, had benefited not only in terms of trade but also in tourism, he said.
He said since Jan 1, 2017, Kazakhstan has lifted visa requirements of up to 30 days for nationals of 45 countries, including Malaysia.
“The policy is designed to promote and develop the country’s tourism potential. Undoubtedly, the launch of direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Almaty in October 2009 was a real milestone as it opened up new opportunities for business, tourism, educational and people-to-people exchanges,” Sarekenov said.
In 2016, there were 10,717 arrivals from the Central Asia country and currently Air Astana was in talks with the Malaysian counterparts to boost the flight frequencies from three to five a week this year, he said.
“Politically, we already enjoyed good connections. This is testified by regular political contacts, including at the highest level.
“Astana and Kuala Lumpur, due to the multi-ethnic and multi-religious nature of the nations, their important locations on international crossroads, as well as our relatively high tempos of economic development, find themselves in similar situations in many ways,” he said. — Bernama