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Kazakhstan Refutes Allegations of Export Blockade to Russia

By Vusala Abbasova October 21, 2023

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The ban, which was announced by Deputy Trade Minister Kairat Torebayev, raised questions among local media outlets, particularly concerning products "linked to the war."

Kazakhstan's trade ministry has denied reports circulating in local media that the country intends to ban the export of goods to Russia in connection with Western sanctions.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the ministry clarified that the recent decision to ban the sale of 106 types of goods to Russia had no connection to the sanctions imposed by Western countries.

"Trade relations between Kazakhstan and Russia are regulated in full compliance with provisions of the Agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union," the ministry emphasized. "No bans on exports of any goods to Russia in connection with anti-Russian sanctions were established."

The ban, which was announced by Deputy Trade Minister Kairat Torebayev, raised questions among local media outlets, particularly concerning products "linked to the war." Torebayev had specified that items such as drones, their electronic components, special equipment, and chips were among the goods affected.

Addressing these concerns, the ministry's press service clarified that the ban applied to certain "dual-use goods" subject to export control, which have been regulated in Kazakhstan for more than two decades in line with international export control regimes.

According to the ministry, Kazakhstan's export control system mandates obtaining licenses for the export, import, and transit of dual-use goods. This system falls within the framework of international obligations and is a vital component of the country's commercial policy. The 106 goods mentioned by Deputy Trade Minister Torebayev are part of this list of dual-use items, and their trade is regulated in accordance with established protocols.

Kazakhstan and Russia share a lengthy 7,500-kilometer border and have historically maintained strong economic ties, particularly in the energy sector. Both nations are rich in natural resources, including oil and gas, leading to mutually beneficial partnerships in various sectors.

However, relations between the two countries have faced challenges since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made it clear that Kazakhstan has no intentions to recognize the independence of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Kazakhstan also did not assist Russia in circumventing sanctions, prompting aggressive rhetoric by certain Russian politicians.

Furthermore, Kazakhstan has adhered to Western sanctions imposed on Russia, signaling its support for international norms.

In response to Kazakhstan's stance, Moscow affirmed that it respects Kazakhstan's relations with third countries and emphasized the existing agreements that define the bilateral ties between the two nations. The Russian Foreign Ministry highlighted the comprehensive nature of the alliance, encompassing politics, security, trade, investment, and other spheres.