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MOSCOW, April 26 (Itar-Tass) —— Trade turnover between Russia and Kazakhstan has reached 24 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 20 percent of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
“The states that have equal conditions and the will of their people – Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus – have created the Customs Union. The benefits are obvious: trade turnover is growing. Our trade with Russia has reached its peak of 24 billion U.S. dollars, which is 20 percent of Kazakhstan’s overall trade turnover,” the president told Russia 24 television.
He stressed the three countries’ commitment to integration within the Common Economic Space (CES). “By 2015, our agreements [on CES] will become laws, we will adopt more agreements, and this space will be absolutely free and transparent for all,” he said.
According to Nazarbayev, integration creates conditions for “strengthening the independence of the states” and the space for the development of the market.
“We have an advantage: the absence of language barriers, we have common history and common mentality, and we must not tear all this up,” he said.
Nazarbayev met with Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin in Astana on Wednesday, April 25, to discuss bilateral relations and integration within the Customs Union, the CES and the future Eurasian Economic Union.
Nazarbayev called for a renewal of the treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Kazakhstan and Russia.
Kazakhstan regards Russia as its main trade partner along with EU countries, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Kairat Kelimbetov said earlier.
“Russia accounts for 15 percent of our country's trade turnover. Kazakhstan's export to Russia increased by 30 percent over the past year, and to Belarus by 50 percent,” the minister said.
According to Kalimbetov, cooperation between Moscow and Astana is “a guarantee of success for integration in the post-Soviet area, including in the CIS”.
Cooperation with Russia is one of the key foreign policy priorities for Kazakhstan, its Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov said.
“Kazakhstan and Russia are purposefully strengthening mutually advantageous cooperation on the whole range of bilateral relations, working together to overcome crises in the region, and coordinating economic policies in the interests of not only their two countries, but the whole region,” the minister said.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he was pleased that trade with Kazakhstan is not limited solely to energy resources but moves on to high technologies.
Combined trade turnover of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which form the Customs Union, will exceed 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.