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EU trade relations with Kazakhstan. Facts, figures and latest developments.

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The Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), which entered into force on 1 March 2020, governs trade and economic relations between the European Union and Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is the first Central Asian partner to have concluded an EPCA with the EU.

The EU is Kazakhstan’s biggest trade partner, representing almost 30% of its external trade. The EU is also the biggest foreign investor in Kazakhstan.

Trade picture

  • Kazakhstan is the EU’s 33rd biggest trade partner, representing 0.7% of the EU’s total trade in goods with the world in 2020.
  • The EU is Kazakhstan's biggest trade partner, accounting for 29.7% of the country’s total trade in goods in 2020. 16.1% of Kazakhstan’s imports came from the EU and 41% of its exports went to the EU.
  • Even in a year as difficult as 2020, total trade in goods between the EU and Kazakhstan amounted to €18.6 billion. The EU’s imports were worth €12.6 billion, mainly consisting of fuel and mining products (€11.8 billion, 93.7%). The EU’s exports totalled €6.0 billion, led by machinery and transport equipment (€2.9 billion, 48.3%), chemicals (€1.6 billion, 26.7%), and other manufactured goods (€0.5 billion, 8.3%).
  • Two-way trade in services in 2019 amounted to €2.4 billion, with EU services imports representing €0.9 billion and exports €1.5 billion.
  • Kazakhstan has benefited from strong foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in recent years, largely due to its oil and gas sector. In 2019, total EU FDI outward stock represented €63.9 billion.

The EU and Kazakhstan

The EPCA was signed in 2015 and began to be provisionally applied on 1 May 2016. After its ratification by all EU Member States, the Agreement entered into force on 1 March 2020, replacing the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1999.

The EPCA creates a better regulatory environment for businesses in areas such as:

  • trade in services;
  • establishment and operation of companies;
  • capital movements;
  • raw materials and energy;
  • government procurement, and;
  • intellectual property rights.

On 17 June 2019, the Council adopted Conclusions on a new EU Strategy on Central Asia, which provides a framework for strengthening regional cooperation, and for addressing new opportunities and challenges in the region.

Kazakhstan and the WTO

  • Kazakhstan became the 162nd member of the WTO in 2015. The EU had consistently supported Kazakhstan’s accession.

Cooperation Council

High-level discussions on progress made in implementing the EPCA take place annually in the framework of the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council. Its 18th meeting was held on 10 May 2021 in Brussels.

Technical dialogue on trade, investment and customs takes place regularly in the Cooperation Committee in Trade Configuration and in the Customs Sub-Committee.

In addition, in summer 2019, a high-level EU-Kazakhstan Business Platform was launched in order to make possible direct dialogue between Kazakh authorities, business representatives and EU Heads of Mission.

Committees and Dialogues

The EU and Kazakhstan meet regularly to discuss issues and best practices and oversee the proper functioning of the Agreement.

Technical committee meetings - agendas and reports

Trading with Kazakhstan