Recently Kazakhstan adopted new The Foreign Policy Concept of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the years 2014 — 2020, which has been developed based on the directions, set forth in the Strategy Kazakhstan-2050 Address to the people of Kazakhstan by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Strategy 2050). This strategy represents a system of fundamental views on the principles, approaches, aims, priorities and tasks of foreign policy for the Republic of Kazakhstan.
According to one of the Foreign Policy Priorities «The Republic of Kazakhstan attaches great importance to cooperation with the countries of North, Central and South America. In this paper, priority is given to the development of trade — economic, investment and humanitarian ties and the promotion of common interests in the UN and other international organizations».
On August 8, 2006, the Director of special group on technology issues of Argentinean Foreign Ministry Raul Dejean visited Astana with the purpose of visit: bilateral contacts at the interagency level on agriculture, education and science.
On September 19, 2006, during participation in the 61st session of the UN General Assembly, Kazakhstani Minister of Foreign Affairs had a meeting with his Argentinean counterpart Jorge Enrique Taiana.
This situation changed on the last five years. On 2009, Argentina organized the first diplomatic visit to the region. A delegation headed by Ambassador Eduardo Sadous, Special Representative of the Secretary of Commerce, by Ricardo Forrester, a diplomat in charge of Central Asian states, and Pedro Eugenio Mazzeo, representative of AFIP (Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos), the institution which collects and administrates taxes in Argentina.
On September 2007, President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, had visited Brazil and during that visit, economic issues were the most important aspect of the bilateral agenda. The discussions focussed on possible partnerships in energy and agriculture, especially on the potential partnership in the production of biofuels (green fuels).
Brazilian President, Lula da Silva, paid an official visit to Kazakhstan on June 2009, at the same moment when the first Argentinean delegation was visiting Central Asia. During Lula da Silva´s trip, the Brazilian President emphasized the importance of Kazakhstan to Brazil and gave the example of the establishment of the Brazilian embassy in Astana in 2006 as the result of that interest.
On December 9–10, 2011. Ambassador at Large — Director of the Department of America of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, A. Tazhiev, took part in the inauguration ceremony of re-elected President of Argentina Cristina Kirchner.
On April 2012, it took place the second Argentinean high-level visit when Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eduardo Zuain, visited Kazakhstan in order to advance on the work of the bilateral agenda. In the period from 18 to 29 April 2012, Delegation of MFA RK visited Argentina within the campaign «EXPO 2017 «. During the visit, Kazakh delegation held meetings with the officials of Argentinean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following the visit, Argentinean side supported the candidacy of Kazakhstan for conducting «Expo-2017».
Six months later the Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erlan Idrissov, visited Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
The main purpose of the visit was the opening ceremony of the first Kazakh embassy in Latin America, which was established in Brazil. To choose Brazil seemed logical from the Kazakh perspective. First, Brazil opened, as we said, an embassy in Astana in 2006 and on the second place, because Brazil is the main trade partner of Kazakhstan in Latin America.
During the visit of Mr. Idrissov to Argentina, a number of bilateral agreements were signed: A memorandum of Understanding on political consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and an agreement on the exemption of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, officials and service passports.
The main question is what is about the interest of Argentina on Kazakhstan. We believe that Argentina is interested on Kazakhstan itself but also interested on the geopolitical position of this country.
Among Central Asian states, Kazakhstan is the largest by far, both in terms of geography and economics. The economic growth Kazakhstan has undergone, as well as the potential it possesses for even further development, makes its study a worthwhile endeavor. GDP growth from 2000 until the 2008 financial crisis was above 8.5% in all years, and was generally closer to 10%. Since 2010 it has recovered such that reported GDP growth was 5% in 2012, compared to the US which had only 2.8% growth (GDP Growth (annual %)). As the 14th largest exporter of oil and possessor of some of the largest oil fields in reserve Kazakhstan’s growth via oil (and gas) exports is significant and shows no signs of decline. As an example, the Kashagan oil field, which only began production in September of 2013, is the largest oil field outside of the Middle East, and the fifth largest in the world (Kazakhstan).
Kazakhstan is a country full of opportunities for some Argentinean technologies. That is the main reason behind the interest of Argentina on the inclusion of Kazakhstan on the World Trade Organization  and the agreement signed by the two countries on Genève on March 2012.
At the same time, Kazakhstan represents the entrance of the Argentinean products to the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. By entering the Customs Union, Kazakhstan creates for investors a more attractive market of 170 million people and opens up additional possibilities for effective investment projects. This is particularly important in a moment where the need to open new markets is one of the top economic priorities of the present government. Three out of four BRIC countries are located near Kazakhstan: Russia, China and India. Last but not the least Kazakhstan government is completely focused on economic diversification.
From the Argentinean perspective, Kazakhstan´s interest on Latin America is related to the implementation of the ‘Concept of Foreign Policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2014–2020’. In this regard, our region can be conceptualized as the part of the world where Kazakhstan was absent in the past but should be present in the future.
On the other hand, Argentina understands that the main partner in our region is Brazil, the most important country in terms of economy and a leading regional player, which intends to be a global one. The early interest of Brazil on Kazakhstan is also a factor that should be considered on this general analysis.
Brazil and Argentina, together, represent another interest for Kazakhstan. On one hand both countries are members of the G-20 a very influential forum which got the attention of Astana. As it is recognized on «Kazakhstan 2050» strategy, which was unveiled by President Nazarbayev in December 2012, one of the objectives is to draw the country closer to the world’s 30 most advanced economies. This is the reason why the G-20 countries are becoming so important to Kazakhstan.
On the other hand, Argentina and Brazil are members of MERCOSUR, one of the most important regional commercial organizations in the region. Commercially speaking Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela are part of the same system, which represents a great opportunity for any company entering on one of those markets.
Finally, on the multilateral level, Argentina and Brazil are especially interested on the experience of Kazakhstan on the establishment of a Central Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. This initiative matchs with the Latin America Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (Tlatelolco Treaty) and the bilateral non-proliferation regime between Argentina and Brazil (the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials — ABACC). The efforts towards regional and global non-proliferation regimens is a shared concern between Argentina, Brazil and Kazakhstan.
- «Argentina y Kazajstán firmaron un acuerdo de comercio» available on http://www.mercojuris.com/2842/argentina-y-kazajstan-firmaron-un-acuerdo-de-comercio/
Dr. Paulo Botta,
National University of La Plata, Argentina
Dr. Akbota Zholdasbekova,
Academy of Public Service, Institute of Diplomacy, Kazakhstan