“One Belt, One Road gives entrepreneurs a lot of opportunity,” said Aiju’s Liu, citing cheaper costs and lower transaction fees. “We also hope there will be opportunity to cooperate with U.S. companies [as a] food and oil dealer.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service is also monitoring Kazakhstan’s grain trade with China.
In April, the USDA said in a report that flour exports from Kazakhstan to China increased eight times from 2014 to 2016, while the pace of exports to other countries in the region steadied or declined over that time.
While no specific data on oilseeds trade was available, the report said the Kazakh government was also subsidizing oilseed crops at 100 percent per metric ton if they are sold to oil crushing facilities for further domestic processing.
Kazakh oilseeds stocks, as of April 1 (Thousand metric tons)
Source: Kazakhstan Statistical Agency
“The skeptical side of One Belt, One Road [says it will] get these countries into debt to [China] with these projects. I don’t think that’s a problem with Kazakhstan because Kazakhstan can show up with their own game. They’re able to negotiate very good deals with China, Russia, Europe,” said Merkel.
China’s agriculture trade with Kazakhstan looks set to grow.
In October, the USDA pointed to news that Chinese investors are interested in setting up noodle production facilities in Kazakhstan worth about $47 million that will send about 700 tons of noodles a day to China.
“Chinese consumers are reportedly asking for noodles made of Kazakh flour,” the USDA reported.
The Xi’an railway container center is part of the Xi’an International Trade and Logistics Park, the only inland logistics center for imported grain and meat, according to Chinese state-run magazine Beijing Review.
“At the beginning, there were one to two trains a week. Now, there are three to five trains a week” at the rail hub overall, Gai said. Our “goal is to have two trains a day.”
Disclosure: Travel to Asia was supported by the East-West Center, the Better Hong Kong Foundation and the All-China Journalists Association.