Kazakhstan - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Agreements
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Kazakhstan became a WTO member on November 30, 2015.  In addition, Kazakhstan officially entered a Customs Union with Russia and Belarus on July 1, 2010, eventually becoming a founding member of the EAEU, which was created on May 29, 2014, between Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Russia.  (The Kyrgyz Republic and Armenia joined in 2015.)  Since that time, EAEU regulations have heavily influenced Kazakhstan’s trade policy.  For example, while Kazakhstan asserts that EAEU agreements comply with WTO standards, since joining the Customs Union Kazakhstan has doubled its average import tariff and introduced annual tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) on poultry and beef.

How Kazakhstan will reconcile conflicting commitments under the WTO and EAEU is still unclear. More information about the EAEU is available at http://www.eaeunion.org/. Under its WTO commitments, Kazakhstan agreed to gradually lower 3,512 tariff rates to an average of 6.1 percent by 2020.  In January 2016, the country began applying lower-than-Common External Tariff rates to certain food products, automobiles, airplanes, railway wagons, lumber, alcoholic beverages, pharmaceuticals, freezers, and jewelry.  Kazakhstan has a three-year grace period beginning in December 2020 prior to starting tariff adjustment negotiations with its EAEU partners. Kazakhstan introduced administrative measures to prevent the re-export of goods released at these lower tariff rates to Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia.

In response to criticism by U.S. exporters, Kazakhstan developed new rules for allocating tariff-rate quotas that establish clear deadlines and delineate responsibility among government agencies.

Kazakhstan is a signatory of a Free Trade Agreement with CIS countries, available at the WTO’s database of Regional Trade Agreements (rtais.wto.org).  In addition, as a member of the EAEU, Kazakhstan is party to EAEU Free Trade Agreements with Vietnam and Serbia.  In 2019, Kazakhstan ratified an interim agreement on forming a free trade area between Iran and the EAEU; joined the EAEU agreement on comprehensive trade cooperation with Singapore; and joined the agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the EAEU and China, which came into force in October 2019. The agreement with China created a legal basis for trade and industrial cooperation between China and the EAEU as a single entity. All EAEU trade agreements are available at http://www.eurasiancommission.org/en/Pages/default.aspx).