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World > Asia > Kazakhstan > Relations with U.S. (Notes)

Kazakhstan - Relations with U.S. (Notes)

The United States was the first country to recognize Kazakhstan, on December 25, 1991, and opened its Embassy in Almaty in January 1992. In the years since Kazakhstans independence, the two countries have developed a wide-ranging bilateral relationship. The current Ambassador is John Ordway, who assumed his post in September 2004. The bilateral relationship has witnessed a surge in activity in recent months, including visits by Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Rice, Secretary of Energy Bodman, Secretary of Agriculture Johanns, and CENTCOM Commander Abizaid. President Nazarbayev met with President Bush in the White House on September 29, 2006.

U.S.-Kazakhstani cooperation in security and non-proliferation has been a cornerstone of the relationship. Kazakhstan showed leadership when it renounced nuclear weapons in 1993. The United States has assisted Kazakhstan in the removal of nuclear warheads, weapons-grade materials, and their supporting infrastructure. In 1994, Kazakhstan transferred more than a half-ton of weapons-grade uranium to the United States. In 1995 Kazakhstan removed its last nuclear warheads and, with U.S. assistance, completed the sealing of 181 nuclear test tunnels in May 2000. Kazakhstan has signed the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (1992), the START Treaty (1992), the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1993), the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2001). Under the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, the United States has spent $240 million to assist Kazakhstan in eliminating weapons of mass destruction and weapons of mass destruction-related infrastructure.

Economic Relations
U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) was 27% of total FDI in Kazakhstan in 2006. American companies have invested about $11.8 billion in Kazakhstan since 1993. These companies are concentrated in the oil and gas, business services, telecommunications, and electrical energy sectors. Kazakhstan has made progress in creating a favorable investment climate although serious problems, including arbitrary enforcement of laws, remain. A U.S.-Kazakhstan Bilateral Investment Treaty and a Treaty on the Avoidance of Dual Taxation have been in place since 1994 and 1996, respectively. In 2001, Kazakhstan and the United States established the U.S.-Kazakhstan Energy Partnership.

Sections 402 and 409 of the United States 1974 Trade Act require that the President submit semi-annually a report to Congress on continued compliance with the Acts freedom of emigration provisions by those countries, including Kazakhstan, that fall under the Trade Acts Jackson-Vanik Amendment. Bilateral trade in 2005 was valued at $1.64 billion, a 91% increase from 2004.

U.S. Assistance
Between 1992 and 2005, the United States provided roughly $1.205 billion in technical assistance and investment support in Kazakhstan. The programs were designed to promote market reform, to establish a foundation for an open, prosperous, and democratic society, and to address security issues.

Since 1993, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has administered technical assistance programs to support Kazakhstans transition to a market economy, fully integrated into the world trade system. These programs include cooperation in privatization, fiscal, and financial policy; commercial law; energy; health care; and environmental protection. In 2006, Kazakhstan became the first country to share directly in the cost of a U.S. Government?s foreign assistance program. Through 2009, the Government of Kazakhstan will contribute over $15 million to a $40 million USAID economic development project aimed at strengthening Kazakhstan?s capacity to achieve its development goals. The U.S. Commercial Service provides U.S. business internships for Kazakhstanis, supports Kazakhstani businesses through a matchmaker program and disseminates information on U.S. goods and services. Additional information is available on its website: The Peace Corps has about 120 volunteers working throughout Kazakhstan in business education, English teaching, and the development of environmental non-governmental organizations. Since 2001 and the advent of the war on terror, the U.S. has assisted Kazakhstan to combat illegal narcotics, improve border security, and, more recently combat money laundering and trafficking in persons.

The United States supports increased citizen participation in the public arena through support for non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Dozens of grants have been provided to support NGOs that promote an independent media, legal reform, womens rights, civic education, and legislative oversight. USAID also has provided training courses for leaders and professionals.

[Fact sheet on FY 2006 U.S. Assistance to Kazakhstan.]

Military Cooperation
Kazakhstans military participates in the U.S.s International Military Education and Training program, Foreign Military Financing, as well as NATOs Partnership for Peace program. In 2005, U.S. Central Command conducted approximately 45 bilateral, military cooperation events with the Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan and other agencies, an increase of more than 100% since 2002. Events vary in size and scope, ranging from information exchanges to military exercises.

Environmental Issues
Kazakhstan has identified a number of major ecological problems within its borders--desiccation of the Aral Sea, protection of the fragile Caspian ecosystem, remediation of the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing range, cleanup of the Baykonur launching facility, extremely polluted cities, desertification, and development of mechanisms for regional transboundary water management.

To address the water management problem of the Syr Darya River, Kazakhstan and other basin states, with technical assistance from USAID/Central Asia, established the 1998 Framework Agreement on the Use of Water and Energy Resources of the Syr Darya Basin. Kazakhstan became a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1999.

The United States and the European Union worked together with the Ministry of Environmental Protection to establish an independent, nonprofit, and nonpolitical Regional Environmental Center (REC) in Almaty in 2001. The mission of the REC is to strengthen civil society and support sustainable development by promoting public awareness and participation in environmental decision-making among the countries of Central Asia. In 2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Embassy, and Ministry of Environmental Protection signed a memorandum of understanding to provide the REC with funding for its grants program.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--John M. Ordway
Secretary--Jan van der Zalm
Deputy Chief of Mission--Kevin Milas
Political-Economic Officer--Deborah Mennuti
Public Affairs Officer--Victoria Sloan
Senior Commercial Officer--Stuart Schaag
Management Counselor--Paul Gilmer
Consul--Jeffrey Lodinsky
Regional Security Officer--Julia Hill
Defense Attaché--COL Mike Hallisey
USAID Mission Director--Christopher Crowley
Peace Corps Director--Linda Schmitz (acting)
Security Assistance Officer--MAJ Michael Chandler
Centers for Disease Control Director--Dr. Michael Favorov
Regional Medical Officer--Dr. Monte Makous

U.S. Embassy Contact Information
U.S. Embassy Astana (Chancery)
22-23 Str., No.3, Ak Bulak 4.
Astana, Kazakhstan 010000
Tel: 7-(3172) 70-21-00; Fax: 7-(3172) 34-08-90

U.S. Commercial Service / Public Affairs Section
Samal 2, 97 Zholdasbekov St., 11th Floor
Almaty, Kazakhstan 480099
Tel: 7-(3272) 50-49-50; Fax: 7-(3272) 50-49-67, 50-48-74
E-mail: [email protected]

U.S. Embassy Branch Office, Almaty
97 Zholdasbekov Str., Almaty 050059
Tel: 7-(3272) 50-48-02

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
41 Kazybek Street
Almaty, Kazakhstan 480100
Tel: 7-(3272) 50-76-12, 50-76-17; Fax: 7-(3272) 50-76-36

Peace Corps
257 Kablukova St,
Almaty, Kazakhstan 050060
Tel: 7-(3272) 58-45-00; Fax: 7-(3272) 58-23-15

Business Customs
In terms of business customs, Kazakhstan is more European than Asian. It is customary to shake hands and call people by their first names at business meetings, as well as at informal get-togethers. However, men generally do not shake womens hands in company. Business attire is generally a suit and tie for men and a suit or business dress for women. Small gifts--pens, company logo pins, memo, and books--are frequently given at the end of an initial meeting as a token of appreciation. Business cards are the norm, often in both Russian and English.

Kazakhstani business people are generally less direct than American business people, and what can be accomplished in a few meetings in the United States might take more in Kazakhstan, requiring patience and discipline on the part of the U.S. business people. An experienced and competent interpreter can add invaluable context to your business meetings.

It is common in Kazakhstan to have dinner with business contacts, but usually only after establishing business contacts in a more formal setting. Business attire is worn. Usually diners share a bottle of vodka or cognac and offer toasts, stating their desire for a fruitful business relationship and warm personal relations between partners. After-hours informal meetings, dinners and toasts, as well as weekend hunting and barbecues can be very important to forge business relations.

More Information
Entry requirements. A valid passport and visa are required. The Kazakhstani Embassy in Washington, DC and the Kazakhstani Consulate in New York issue visas. As of February 2004, an invitation is no longer required for single-entry business and tourist visas, but multiple-entry visas require an invitation from an individual or organizational sponsor in Kazakhstan. The U.S. Embassy in Almaty does not issue letters of invitation to citizens interested in private travel to Kazakhstan. All travelers must obtain a Kazakhstani visa before entering the country. Travelers should be aware that overstaying the validity period of a visa will result in fines and delays upon exit. Travelers may be asked to provide proof at the border of their onward travel arrangements. Travelers transiting through Kazakhstan are reminded to check that their visas allow for sufficient number of entries to cover each transit trip and to check the length of validity of the visa. Crossing the land border to and from the neighboring Kyrgyz Republic can result in delays or demands from border officials to pay fines. For complete information concerning entry requirements, U.S. citizens should contact the Kazakhstani Embassy at 1401 16th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20036, tel. (202) 232-5488, fax (202) 232-5845, e-mail [email protected], or homepage Contact also the Kazakhstani Consulate at 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 586, New York, NY 10017, tel. (212) 888-3024, fax (212) 888-3025, e-mail [email protected], or see the homepage

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the childs travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure. All children adopted in Kazakhstan after May 2003 must obtain exit stamps from both the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs before departing.

OVIR registration. There are local Kazakhstani registration requirements. All U.S. citizens arriving in Kazakhstan through 12 international airports and the railway point of Dostyk (Druzhba) are registered at the moment of the border crossing and, as proof, receive a migration card with entry and registration marks from the Border Service of Committee of National Security of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Registration of U.S. citizens is also done at automobile checkpoints in Khorgos, Dostyk, Bakhty, Maikapchagai, Kordai and Kolzhat, and the seaports of Aktau and Bautino. The registration upon arrival is valid for 3 months. For stays longer than 90 days, travelers should register with the Migration Police. However, if for any reason, a U.S. citizen was not registered in the Kazakhstan Embassy or immediately upon arrival in Kazakhstan, the traveler should register with the Office of Visas and Registration (OVIR) within 5 calendar days. Visitors who do not register may have to pay fines upon departure and their departure may be delayed.

Registration/embassy location. Americans living in or visiting Kazakhstan are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy Consular Section in Almaty through the State Department?s travel registration website at and obtain updated information on travel and security within Kazakhstan. Registration with the Embassy is different from Kazakhstani OVIR registration. It can help the U.S. Embassy contact you in case of an emergency, and it can streamline replacement of a lost or stolen passport. The U.S. Embassy in Almaty is 11 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. The Embassy Consular Section is located at 97 Zholdasbekova, Samal-2, Almaty 050059, tel. 7-3272- 50-49-00, fax 7-3272-50-48-84, e-mail [email protected] or web site

Americans living in or visiting Kazakhstan can also register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department?s travel registration website at

Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Kazakhstan Tenge Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.

Facts at a Glance
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Kazakhstan Tenge Exchange Rates

Notes and Commentary
Government and Political Conditions
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.

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