Spain backs Trans-Caspian route in Kazakhstan to counter Russian sanction dodging

Astana, May 30 (EFE).- Spain is looking to bolster its cooperation with Kazakhstan, specifically through the Trans-Caspian Transport Route, as a strategic move to help inhibit Russia from sidestepping Western-imposed sanctions, Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Xiana Margarida Méndez Bértolo said Tuesday in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

In an interview with Agencia EFE on the sidelines of the Seventh Kazakhstan-Spain Business Council meeting, Méndez said one of Spain’s central focuses with Kazakhstan is to “reinforce the Trans-Caspian corridor,” which serves as an alternative pathway, bypassing Russian territory.

She pointed out that the geopolitical shift caused by “Russia’s incursion into Ukraine has rewritten the trade rules for certain products pertaining to Russian exports and imports.”

Méndez also highlighted the crucial role of international collaboration in “preventing the circumvention of sanctions” that the West has levied on Russia.

“A significant part of the commerce traversing this corridor pertains to Kazakhstan,” Méndez Bértolo pointed out, emphasizing that it is essential for Kazakhstan to establish itself as a key platform for trade, industry, and inbound investments.

“This is especially true when we talk about preventing sanction dodging,” she asserted, underlining that countries in Central Asia maintain strong commercial relations with Moscow.

Méndez added that the Trans-Caspian corridor is instrumental in “propelling trade from the EU towards Asian markets like China, with Kazakhstan playing a pivotal role.”

She noted that last year, trade between Spain and Kazakhstan reached an impressive 3 billion euros, marking a 70% surge compared to 2021.

Joining Méndez in Astana were representatives from 35 Spanish firms.

Meanwhile, Kanat Sharlapayev, the co-chair of the Kazakhstan-Spain Business Council and director of the Bayterek Fund, revealed that 150 Kazakh private companies partook in the meeting.

Sharlapayev indicated an eagerness for Spanish proposals regarding technological expertise, experience in investments, and the active involvement of investors in Kazakh projects.

“Given that these three conditions are met, we will extend an invitation to participate in debt capital, shares, or support under the umbrella of export financing,” he said.

Since 2012, the Kazakhstan-Spain Business Council meetings have been routinely convened with the objective of enhancing economic and trade cooperation and facilitating joint projects. EFE


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