China-Central Asia Summit is set to open new chapter in cooperation history, experts say

The upcoming China-Central Asia Summit, set to take place on May 18th and 19th in Xi'an, will give a new impetus to the interaction among the participating states. Central Asian countries and China recognize the importance of strengthening ties and are ready to expand mutually beneficial relations, experts note. In particular, Kazakhstan and China intend to establish a mutual visa-free regime for their citizens, a move that will strengthen bilateral partnership and facilitate the expansion of business ties. The mutual trade turnover has been on the rise, surpassing $24 billion last year.

“Last year, Kazakhstan and China concluded commercial agreements worth over $500 million. I believe that the forthcoming China-Central Asia Summit will start a new chapter for cooperation between the Central Asian countries and China, strengthening key areas of partnership, including the development of transport infrastructure. Of course, a number of documents, including commercial agreements, are expected to be signed at the summit. I believe they will relate not only to supplies but also to unlocking our industrial potential, including along the Middle Corridor,” Bekzhan Sadykov, Spokesperson for the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies, said.

As noted by the expert, the Chinese market is very attractive for manufacturers. The volume of product shipments from Central Asia is steadily increasing. For example, Uzbekistan leads in cherry exports, while Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan supply food products, including meat, honey and dried fruit. Kazakhstan is attractive in terms of its transport and logistics capabilities.

“Kazakhstan acts as a bridge connecting the West and Europe. Developing cooperation with China is of strategic importance to unlock the potential of Kazakhstan’s infrastructure. Besides, this will certainly give impetus to the further development of Kazakhstan’s foreign economic relations, as well as those of other Central Asian states, with countries from various regions, including the South Caucasus and other parts of Eurasia,” Sadykov added.