IN 2017, Kazakhstan introduced its open sky policy for its aviation sector. It was introduced in the capital Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) and over three years, Kazakhstan and foreign air carriers launched 19 new routes, which included Tokyo, Warsaw, Budapest and Helsinki.
Kazakhstan’s carriers plan to launch flights to large cities, such as Shanghai (2020), Singapore (2020) and New York (2021).
Kazakhstan has flight connections with 26 countries via 99 international routes (430 flights per week by 26 foreign and three Kazakh airlines).
There are plans to expand the policy at airports in Almaty, Shymkent, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Pavlodar, Kokshetau, Taraz, Petropavlovsk and Semey.
There are also plans to provide foreign airlines the fifth freedom flights to priority financial centres.
Qatar Airways (Doha, 2020), Emirates (Dubai, 2021), China Eastern (Shanghai, 2021), Ural Airlines and Pobeda are expected to enter Kazakhstan’s market.
Kazakhstan’s policy is to boost its airports, which can be used by Asean countries to transport goods to Europe.
President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev said the country had significant potential to produce organic and environmentally-friendly products.
Last month, it approved road maps for the development of organic agriculture and the production of halal food products developed by the Agriculture Ministry.
This is to develop the domestic market for such products and increase Kazakhstan’s agro-industrial exports.
The Institute of Organic Agriculture said Kazakhstan was in 26th position (2017) in terms of organic production.
Kazakhstan’s main producers of organic products are in the farms of Akmola, Karaganda, Kostanai and northern Kazakhstan, which are focused on grain exports including wheat, lentils, barley, rapeseed, flax and peas.
Organic production is carried out by 61 operators and seven importers.
IOA said the amount of organic exports from Kazakhstan to the European Union (EU) is about 10 million euros (RM46 million) a year.
Kazakhstan’s halal products are popular in the Gulf countries, such as Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Russia.
Thirty per cent of Kazakhstan’s exports of agricultural products worth US$451 million (RM1.8 billion) between January and June are halal products.
About 900 manufacturers were issued certificates for the production of halal food products.
Kazakhstan is the largest economy in Central Asia with a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$173 billion.
This is higher than the GDP of all Central Asian states combined.
Kazakhstan is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which has a population of 183.8 million.
EEU consists of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
Member states are accorded preferential treatment for trade and investment in EEU.
In terms of international rankings, Kazakhstan occupied the following positions:
FIRST, it ranked 55th in World Economics Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index this year;
SECOND, Kazakhstan is ranked 28th in the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business Index; and,
THIRD, it ranked 18th in terms of favourable tax climate among 189 countries.
It has political, social and economic stability with a growing middle class and robust household purchasing power.
The annual GDP growth rate is four per cent; between January and last month, GDP growth was 4.3 per cent.
It has strategic transit potential, with 70 per cent of transit traffic between China and Europe passing through Kazakhstan.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times