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On the sidelines of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) summit that begins in Astana on June 8, a number of bilateral meetings of the leaders of the SCO countries will take place, including a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. On June 7, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told journalists that the meeting would be the second for the leaders in 2017. Worth recalling, they met less than a month ago, during the international forum “One Belt, One Way” held in Beijing on May 14-15.


The capital of Kazakhstan has hosted a meeting of defense ministers of the states that are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The press service of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic reported this news on June 7. During this event, its participants summed up the results of cooperation in 2016, and discussed the prospects for further development of cooperation.


During President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Kazakhstan, a number of new trade and economic agreements will be signed. According to the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Li Huilai, the PRC leader and his counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev are going to discuss the prospects and opportunities for Kazakhstan's participation in the One Belt, One Road project, as well as a number of other key issues of the regional level.


On June 6, the meeting of the Government of Kazakhstan discussed the issues related to the current state and prospects for the further development of special industrial and economic zones located in the territory of the republic. According to the report of Minister for Investments and Development Zhenis Kasymbek, the concept of a new unified law of Kazakhstan on special industrial and economic zones has already been developed. Currently, it's undergoing the procedure of preliminary approval by state bodies. By the end of June, the concept will be agreed by the Ministry of Justice.


On January 1, 2018, Kazakhstan plans to introduce a new format of social targeted assistance. As a result, the social benefits will increase by an average of 25 percent. Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population Tamara Duisenova made such a statement on June 6. “The total amount of the three benefits currently provided for each member of a low-income family is KZT6,396. Within the new system, the amount of assistance to each member of the family will grow by about KZT2.500.


By 2020, about 3,000 container trains will be transported from China to Europe via Kazakhstan. Zhang Xiaodong, deputy head of the Transport Transport Institute of Beijing Transport University, one of the developers of the China Container Transportation Plan, reported this information on June 5. For reference: in 2016, about 1,800 container trains passed from China to Europe in total.


The upper chamber of the Parliament of Kazakhstan (the Senate) has ratified the agreement between the Government of the Republic and the ADB (Asian Development Bank) on granting a bank loan in the amount of over $240 million. The funds shall be spent on reconstruction of a highway. The agreement was signed by the parties in Astana in December 2016. The Asian Development Bank undertook to allocate a loan of $240.3 million to Kazakhstan. These funds will be spent on reconstruction of a two-lane highway with a length of 299 kilometers that connects the settlements of Aktobe and Makat.


In 2018, the Abu Dhabi Plaza skyscraper will be commissioned in Astana. It will become the highest building in Central Asia. According to Minister for Investment and Development of the Republic Zhenis Kasymbek, as of today the tower already corresponds to the parameters stated in the project, including the number of floors. “The project envisaged the construction of four towers. Three of them will be commissioned in 2017. The commissioning of the tallest tower is scheduled for 2018,” he said.



Kazakhstan's obligations to oil producing countries to reduce oil production can be adjusted due to the expected growth in production at the Kashagan field. According to energy minister of the republic Kanat Bozumbayev, the Kazakh side has already held the preliminary negotiations with the OPEC countries on this topic. “I told my colleagues, the energy ministers of Russia and Saudi Arabia, that we would increase our oil production in September, at the expense of the Kashagan field. And so we will have to change the production plan.


Kazakhstan has started the retail sales of measured ingots of bank refined gold. Chairman of the National Bank of the Republic Daniyar Akishev made such a statement. According to him, all the preparatory works for this project have been completed, and gold bars are available to citizens starting from May 31. In addition to the purchasing opportunity, individuals can also sell the ingots back to banking institutions.