Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 208

Kazakhstan has been winning praise for its economic performance. During a recent meeting in Tokyo, World Bank representatives highlighted Kazakhstan’s economic achievements and its leading role among Central Asian countries. (Itar-Tass, November 1) In addition, Standard and Poor’s pointed yesterday to the relatively promising performance of the Kazakh economy when announcing its debt ratings for Kazakhstan. Almaty’s external debt situation is more favorable than that of other countries with similar ratings and, given its oil and mineral resources, Kazakhstan boasts strong export and investment potential. However, among the constraints on Kazakhstan’s creditworthiness Standard and Poor’s mentioned its geographic position, which requires that agreements be reached with its neighbors, and especially with Russia, on transit and trade issues. (Western agencies, November 5)

This dependence helps explain Kazakhstan’s commitment to the development of trade links with Russia and the other two states in the CIS Customs Union — Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. During a recent visit to Japan to discuss the provision of financial assistance by a group of donor countries and the World Bank, Kazakh prime minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin pointed out that projects for joint production and marketing are being considered by the four states in the customs union. He added that Japanese trading houses are prepared to offer financing for such projects and that Japanese business leaders understand the advantages of eliminating customs barriers in trade between the four states.(Itar-Tass, November 1)

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