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Kazakhstan Sets Reform Agenda for Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Kazakhstan will use its chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to promote reforms aimed at turning the group into a “practical and effective platform” for expanding trade and security cooperation, according to a Kazakh Foreign Ministry statement. Kazakh officials also highlighted a need to step up joint action to address environmental challenges and promote closer ties “in the digital sphere.” SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming endorsed Kazakhstan’s agenda for 2023-24, expressing hope that Kazakhstan can take the SCO to “a new level of practical interaction for the prosperity …of the peoples of our countries.” Kazakhstan will organize over 80 meetings and events to promote its policy priorities during its chairmanship, according to the Foreign Ministry statement. Kazakhstan assumed the SCO chair in early July following the SCO summit hosted by outgoing chair India.

Kazakhstan is intent on boosting Chinese investment. Industry Minister Marat Karabaev led a delegation of business executives and regional leaders on an early July visit to Beijing, the ministry’s press service reported. Representatives from over 150 Chinese companies attended an investment seminar hosted by Kazakh officials during the delegation’s stay in the Chinese capital. Karabaev also held one-on-one discussions with the vice chair of China’s National Committee for Development and Reform, Cong Liang. The two focused on financing possibilities to develop the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR). Karabaev also met with Chinese executives to explore cooperation opportunities in the mining and alternative energy spheres.


Uzbekistan and China are teaming up on three new hydropower projects, the Uzbek Energy Ministry announced. Representatives of Uzbekhydroenergo JSC, the state hydropower producer, and China Southern Power Grid International (HK) Co., signed a memorandum of understanding to build three plants with a total generating capacity of 820 MW. The price tag for the project is estimated at $1.64 billion. The new facilities should be operational by 2030. 

Uzbek agricultural officials are exploring reforms in response to global warming and the threat of water scarcity. On the sidelines of the 43rd UN Food and Agriculture Organization conference in Rome, Uzbek Agriculture Minister Aziz Voitov met with his Chinese counterpart, Tang Renjiang, to discuss joint projects aimed at “growing crops in saline and arid lands,” the ministry’s press service reported. Voitov also voiced a desire to create a joint “agro-innovative” testing ground.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping congratulated Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on his re-election victory, voicing a desire to “further energize the building of a China-Uzbekistan community with a shared future,” the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.


Law enforcement officials in Dushanbe recently announced the break-up of a smuggling ring, confiscating goods worth an estimated $182,000, the Sputnik news service reported. Authorities uncovered the smuggled goods in several warehouses in the Tajik capital. The confiscated items may represent just a drop in the bucket, in terms of the level of smuggling going on between the two countries. Customs data published by China and Tajikistan in 2022 revealed a $1.4 billion discrepancy in trade turnover.

Source : Eurasianet