As the host of the meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping, noted at the opening of the forum, for two decades, Asian states have been actively promoting the process of regional economic integration, directing collective efforts to socio-economic development, turning Asia into the most viable, dynamically developing continent.
Indeed, Asia is now recovering vigorously from the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to move ahead with economic growth, which in 2021 will vary from 3.3% to 7.4%. Asia, the world's largest regional economy, already accounts for more than 35% of global GDP. But, as experts have pointed out, the question now is not how fast Asia will evolve, but how it will lead the rest of the world.
Today, the Asian macro-region, with all its diversity, accounts for about 40% of world consumption. The steadily growing middle class in Asian states will, in the long run, exceed 3 billion people. According to forecasts, the region's power will increase as Asian countries expand cooperation in trade, innovation, knowledge and capital flows.
This goal is pursued by regular meetings of Asian leaders in the Chinese Boao.
In his speech at this major event, N. A. Nazarbayev presented his view on the processes taking place in the world and voiced a whole set of pragmatic proposals, recommendations and ideas. In this way, Kazakhstan actively participates in the discussion of the emerging international agenda for the post-COVID world, and the representative composition of the meeting participants ensures that the voice of our country is heard and taken into account.
It is especially worth pointing out that taking advantage of the moment, Elbasy also presented Kazakhstan's achievements in the construction of the Silk Road of the XXI century. Thus, N. A. Nazarbayev focused attention on the fact that Kazakhstan remains an important partner in the implementation of the "One Belt, One Road" initiative, announced almost 8 years ago at the Nazarbayev University in the capital of Kazakhstan.
Why does Elbasy pay attention to this initiative?
Today, our country’s participation in the initiative allows 120 member States in Asia, the Middle East and Europe to develop relations not only with China, but also between the remote regions of Eurasia.
Transport communications are the fundamental cooperation base for the Belt and Road Initiative. In the transport network of the initiative, all the factors that are beneficial for the countries of Eurasia have got together. First of all, the alternativeness and multivariance of routes and, accordingly, economic security, the importance of which was reflected in the recent transport incident in the Suez Canal, which stopped trade flows for a week.
As a result, the strategic advantage of the Belt and Road initiative is to create a diverse and interconnected network - a strengthened economic system across Eurasia. And in this growing network, there is not a single route that can be easily disrupted. If one corridor disappears due to a change of government, war, economic upheaval, or a dispute over tariffs, the cargo can be easily shipped to the same destination via alternative routes.
Another advantage of the Belt and Road initiative is the absence of a rigid framework. This provides it with flexibility in the face of dramatic changes in the global economy and national economic priorities of the PRC, as, for example, it happens during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative was not winded down but was able to quickly adapt to the changed international realities.
Kazakhstan has also benefited, because traffic flows through our country have increased by more than 60% compared to the pre-pandemic period. Today it is important for the Republic of Kazakhstan, as a link in the developing transnational transport system, to broaden the paradigm of the Belt and Road initiative and to intensify the State’s foreign economic efforts.
From a practical point of view, thanks to the joint construction of transport corridors with China, Kazakhstan has opened direct and rapid access to all Eurasian markets at once. We have united three centers of world economic growth (Asia, Europe and the Middle East), with a consumer potential of over 4 billion people.
For Kazakhstan, which is geographically landlocked, it has always been important to build permanent access to sea communications. Through participation in the Belt and Road initiative, our country has gained direct access to three world oceans at once – the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian.
And to be objective, in his early works, N. A. Nazarbayev repeatedly drew attention to the favorable geography and advantages of Kazakhstan, which once played a significant role in the trade corridors of the Great Silk Road. And it is very important for the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan that his ideas and thoughts on the reconstruction of the trans-Eurasian transport routes have led to effective practical implementation.
At the same time, objectively, the phenomenon of the Silk Road with all its possibilities in Kazakhstan has not yet been fully comprehended, therefore we still have to benefit from the new advantages in the future.
In the following years, in cooperation with Asian, European and Middle Eastern partners, it is important to continue to expand the transit and foreign trade potential of the Republic of Kazakhstan through the development of permanent transport links with the countries of Asia (ASEAN) - through the territory of China, as well as Europe (Southern and Northern Europe) - through the existing corridors to Western Europe.
It is strategically important to consider bilateral relations with China much more broadly, as mutually beneficial macro-regional cooperation. Geographically, China borders with 14 States and has three seas with access to the Pacific Ocean.
The transport infrastructure between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People's Republic of China, the consistent reduction of administrative barriers within the international treaty framework allows Kazakhstan to enter the markets of Asian countries, and if you look further, then with Canada, the United States and Latin America, etc., with which the People's Republic of China has developed direct and stable trade communications.
With the development of transport links to major markets, the question arises of the future potential of Kazakhstan industry and its productivity to expand exports from Kazakhstan.
The implementation of this major potential will be facilitated by the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Kazakhstan and the Government of China on the implementation of the Cooperation Plan for the connectivity of the "Nurly Zhol" New Economic Policy and the construction of the "Silk Road Economic Belt". This document was signed during the state visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K. K. Tokayev in September 2019.
The implementation of this connectivity plan will strengthen cooperation between Kazakhstan and China in logistics, international cargo transportation, production, investment, etc. All these are priority areas for the development of our country's economy.
The world now is searching for new rules, principles and formats of interaction, so it is important to broadcast our vision, discuss joint initiatives and make new plans. The informative report of the First President of Kazakhstan - Elbasy N. A. Nazarbayev in Boao reaffirmed the openness, focus on cooperation and initiative, which have been the hallmark of Kazakhstan's diplomacy for all these three decades.
Deputy Director of the Library of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Elbasy.