Kazakhstan: Export Opportunities and Challenges

Kazakhstan: Export Opportunities and Challenges

August 18, 2015

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The World Trade Club is proud to present an opportunity to meet with the U.S. Department of Commerce Commercial Specialist, Ms. Azhar K. Kadrzhanova, from the U.S. Embassy in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  Join us for a market briefing about one of the most dynamic of the emerging markets.

Why Kazakhstan?
Business in Kazakhstan is often focused on the oil and gas sector, which has been responsible for the country’s strong economic expansion over the last decade. Kazakhstan has developed into the leading market in Central Asia and is positioning itself as a transit route between China and Europe. It is also actively seeking ways to use its new wealth to diversify its economy. These efforts, combined with a growing middle class, are providing trade and investment prospects for U.S. firms seeking opportunities.   Kazakhstan is still developing a transparent and effective business culture that is attractive to foreign investment.  Kazakhstan’s authorities realize the need to implement economic reforms.  

Where:  2001 6th Avenue, Suite 2600, Seattle, WA  98121
When:  10 am - 12 noon, Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Cost:    Free for World Trade Club members, $15 for non-members


Did you know?
  • Kazakhstan has a healthy appetite for imported goods and is often willing to pay more for higher quality and innovative technology/service.
  • Rated as “moderately free,” ranked 67 out of 178 countries, well above Russia (#140) and China (#137) on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom.
  • President Nazarbayev’s declared aim is to have Kazakhstan join the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness” Top 30 economies by 2050. 
  • In 2012-2013, Kazakhstan significantly improved its ranking by turning around a five year decline, ranking 50 out of 148 countries.  GDP has increased every year since then.
  • Kazakhstan ranks 50th on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report for 2014.

Market Challenges:
Kazakhstan continues to transform its economy to create a more transparent, less regulated, and more market-driven business environment.  Firms that have experience in Russia and other post-Soviet economies will be familiar with transitional challenges.  As of January 2010, the Customs Union (CU) between Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia became effective.  Competition is strong as Russia and China vie for access to the country’s energy resources and growing buying power.  Investment from these two neighbors remains high while inexpensive products are readily supplied across these borders.  Interpretation of laws by local officials is often at variance with that of the central government.

About Ms. Kadrzhanova:
Ms. Azhar Kadrzhanova joined the U.S. Commercial Service in Almaty, Kazakhstan in March 2002.  She currently covers the Oil and Gas and Energy, Mining, Construction and Transportation industry sectors.  Previously, she worked with Halyk Saving Bank of Kazakhstan, one of the country’s top three commercial banks, the Central Asian-American Enterprise Fund, and as a Consultant with the International Finance Corporation in Washington, DC.  Azhar also worked with Conoco Inc., providing support for company’s business development activities in Kazakhstan.  Azhar is a former Fulbright Scholar at the University of Maryland, where she conducted Research of U.S. Capital and Stock Markets.  She earned her MBA in International Business from the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research (KIMEP), Almaty in 1994.