About Kazakh-British relations
On January 19, 1992 diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the UK were established.
Since October 1992, there has been a British Embassy in Kazakhstan.
Since February 1996, the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan has operated in the UK.
Since February 2017, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the United Kingdom has been Mr. Erlan Idrissov.
Since January 2013, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in the Republic of Kazakhstan has been Dr. Carolyn Browne.
Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom have established a constructive dialogue that promotes the regular exchange of visits at all levels.
From 1991 to 2014, nine visits by the President of Kazakhstan, HE Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, have been made to the UK (in 1991, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2012, 2013 and 2015).
Members of the British royal family who have visited Kazakhstan are the heir to the British throne Prince Charles of Wales (1996), Princess Anne (1993), the Duke of Gloucester (2000), Prince Andrew, - the Duke of York, who was the UK’s Special Representative for Trade and Investment (2003, 2006, 2007 and 2010) and Prince Michael of Kent (2009).
On June 30 - July 1, 2013 British Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron made a state visit to Kazakhstan, the first such visit in the history of the two countries’ bilateral relations. A Joint Statement on strategic partnership between the two countries was signed as part of this visit.
On October 17, 2014, Kazakh President HE Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev had a meeting with UK Prime Minister, HE Mr. David Cameron, on the sidelines of the ASEM summit of European and Asian leaders in Milan, Italy.
On February 22-24, 2015, Mr. Karim Massimov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, visited London. During the visit, Mr. Massimov participated in the Global Law Summit and held a number of meetings with British Ministers, political figures and representatives of business communities.
On 2-4 November 2015, by the invitation of the British side, President of Kazakhstan, HE Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, paid his first official visit to the United Kingdom in the last 10 years (not counting the 2012 Summer Olympics). The leader of Kazakhstan had a meeting and official lunch with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and met with the then Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street. The visit was also marked with the holding the II Session of the Kazakh-British Intergovernmental Commission, as well as the signing of a package of documents worth $-9 billion.
On September 2016, the first meeting of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and UK Prime Minister Theresa May took place at G20 in Hangzhou, China. Following the meeting, the UK Prime Minister was invited to visit Kazakhstan.
Since 2001, the All Party Group for Kazakhstan has operated in the British Parliament.
In February 2016, Mr. Erzhan Kazykhanov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan in the UK, held an expanded briefing for the British MPs.
In October 2016, a delegation of UK Parliament’s All Party Group for Kazakhstan paid first ever visit to Astana.
From the British side the All Party Group on co-operation with Kazakhstan is headed by Labour MP Rt Hon Gisela Stuart. The APPG is chaired by Mr. Beibit Mamrayev, Member of the Parliament of Kazakhstan from the Kazakh side.
Kazakh-British trade and economic relations
The United Kingdom is the sixth largest contributor of FDI to Kazakhstan predominantly in the oil and gas sector. From 2005 to 2016, United Kingdom investments to Kazakhstan totalled over $12 billion.
Trade between the two countries in the period from January-August 2016 totalled $823,9 million. (Export – $568 million, Import – $255,9 million).
British companies represented in the Kazakh market include: Shell, AMEC, Invensys, BAE Systems, RioTinto, Petrofac, Sun Group, Rolls Royce, HSBC, RBS, Ernst & Young, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, SNR Denton, GlaxoSmithKline.
Kazakh business is represented in the UK by the branches of Kazmortransflot UK Ltd and Air Astana.
Many companies of Kazakhstan are listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) including JSC KazMunaiGas E.P., Thethys Petroleum, Nostrum Oil&Gas, KAZ Minerals, Goldbridges, Kazkommertsbank, Halyk Bank, GSM Kazakhstan (Kcell).
In November 2012, United Kingdom included Kazakhstan (along with Mexico, Indonesia, Morocco, Vietnam, South Africa) in a list of 14 priority countries with which to enhance bilateral trade and investment.
In October 2013, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan included the United Kingdom in the list of six priority countries to attract investment. On June 12, 2014, new investment legislation was announced for that purpose. In addition, a pilot project to allow visa-free travel for the citizens of 10 countries including the United Kingdom, for the period between July 15, 2014 and July 15, 2015, was launched.
On October 30, 2013, the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical and Cultural Co-operation was established. The first meeting of the new Commission took place on November 5 of the same year in Astana.
The Second meeting of the IGC was held during the official visit of President of Kazakhstan, HE Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev to London on 3rd November 2015. The meeting saw the sides discussed a number of bilateral projects, including the New Silk Road initiative, EXPO 2017 and the Astana International Financial Centre.
There are a number of other bilateral structures. On February 24, 2015, the Business Council of JSC Samruk-Kazyna and UKTI and the British Chamber of Commerce Representative Office in Kazakhstan were successfully launched in London. The first meeting of the Business Council was held on the sidelines of the official visit of President of Kazakhstan, HE Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev to London on 3rd November 2015. The meeting resulted in the signing of 14 bilateral documents worth $208 million.
Cultural and humanitarian co-operation
An important area of bilateral co-operation is in the field of education. British universities and companies actively cooperate with Kazakhstani universities and have contributed to their development. In 2001, the Kazakh-British Technical University was established in Almaty. Its partners are four leading UK universities in the petroleum sector: Aberdeen, Robert Gordon, Herriot-Watt and Westminster.
“Nazarbayev University” has been implementing a programme for preparation for university education and a project on establishing the School of Engineering supported by University College London. In 2012 with the assistance of the British side, a scientific library was opened at the NU Centre for Energy Research, and scholarships for the training of the staff of the NU Research and Innovation System were provided.
On 3rd November 2015, a Forum of the British and Kazakh universities organised by the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan and British Council and the UKTI took place on the sidelines of President Nazarbayev’s visit to London. The forum resulted in the signing of 13 documents between the universities.
British universities have taken a leading role in training the students of the “Bolashak” scholarship programme (more than 2,000 scholarship holders have graduated from UK universities). According to the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, about 2,000 students are studying in the UK.
New opportunities for co-operation opened by the MoU signed in November 2015 in the area of civil service. The document provides collaboration between the two sides in training professional personnel in line with ‘The Plan of the Nation – the 100 concrete steps to implement the five institutional reforms of the President of Kazakhstan’. The first visit by the representatives of the Ministry of civil service of Kazakhstan took place on March 16-19, 2016 and resulted in the discussion of the ongoing trends in the UK’s civil service, recruiting, simplification of the administrative procedures etc.
Legal co-operation is one of the important areas of Kazakh-British relations. The countries conduct a regular exchange of visits by the heads and representatives of the legal area.
There was a significant breakthrough in judiciary cooperation between two countries in late 2014 with Lord Faulks, UK Minister of State for Civil Justice and Legal Policy visited Kazakhstan and Kazakhstan’s Prosecutor General Mr. Askhat Daulbayev on reciprocal basis visited London.
As a result, the MoU between the Office of Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan and the UK Ministry of Justice was signed with the aim to establish Joint Consultative Committee.
In the early 2015, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Mr. Karim Massimov, visited Britain and delivered a keynote speech during the Global Law Summit, dedicated to the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
This joint work and efforts of both sides resulted in the signing of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and a number of interdepartmental agreements of co-operation between the Office of Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan, the UK Ministry of Justice and the National Crime Agency during the official visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to the UK in early November 2015.
On February 28 – March 1 2016, Baroness Patricia Scotland, UK’s former Attorney General, currently Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, visited Kazakhstan. The visit saw the sides discussed legal Kazakhstan’s co-operation with the UK.
Military and military-technical co-operation
The main areas of co-operation include peacekeeper training, the training of Kazakh servicemen in military educational institutions in the UK, and, co-operation in the field of language training in the military-technical sphere.
On an annual basis, a plan of bilateral military co-operation between the Ministries of Defence of Kazakhstan and Great Britain have been adopted and approved. In order to implement this plan, the Kazakhstan-British Working Group was established (meeting annually in Astana and London, in turn). The new two-year plan for 2016-2017 has been adopted in December 2015.
The technical co-operation is a priority in Kazakh-British relations. In May 2015, as part of the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, the UK passed to Kazakhstan the quadrocycles and night-vision devices.
On September 13, 2016, Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom signed the MoU on military technical co-operation.