Since the beginning of this year, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan has amounted to US$700 million. By the end of the year, the figure is expected to increase by nearly 4.5 times. According to Uzbek Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Saidikram Niyazhodzhaev, cross-border cooperation can contribute to increasing the trade turnover of the two countries to US$5 billion. Both countries are interested in strengthening the trade and economic partnership. A favorable geographical position and a developed infrastructure of the republics create all the necessary conditions for the cooperation.

SAIDIKRAM NIYAZHODZHAEV, UZBEK AMBASSADOR TO KAZAKHSTAN:

 - A very good road and transport infrastructure has been created in Kazakhstan. Today, a network of mobile and railways has allowed Kazakhstan to become a transit hub.  We can reach China, Europe and the Russian Federation through Kazakhstan.

International experts discussed topics of regional cooperation, socio-political modernization and integration processes in Central Asia at a meeting in Astana. The meeting was organized as part of the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan.

SULTAN AKIMBEKOV, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR ASIAN STUDIES:

 - I think it is very important that there is active growth of interaction between states and border regions at the level of interregional trade. We see that Uzbekistan is removing barriers to Tajikistan. This is a very positive factor since Tajikistan is a key export-import destination partner for Kazakhstan. The railway through Uzbekistan has been restored and that is very good for us.

According to experts, the Central Asian countries understand the need for the development of southern transit corridors. A number of joint projects are being implemented in this area.

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