NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – The Kazakh government and Kazakhstan’s Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs have created a new structure – the Council on Import Substitution, National Chamber of Entrepreneurs CEO Ablai Myrzakhmetov told a press conference on 17 January.

“Its first meeting is scheduled for the second half of January 2020. The main task is to combine the experience of successful enterprises in the manufacturing industry and the agro-industrial complex to develop effective proposals for import substitution for the government,” Mirkhzakhmetov said, adding that the share of imports of most consumer goods exceeds 90% in Kazakhstan.

From 2016 to 2019, the volume of imports of manufacturing goods increased by 36% and, according to the results of 2018, amounted to about $30 billion.

According to Kazakhstan statistics, in 2018 the import share for poultry meat was 50%, for canned meat – 32%, for sausages – 40%, for canned vegetables – 72%, for vegetable oil – 30%, for butter – 27%, cheese – 44%, condensed milk and cream – 67%, breadcrumbs and liver – 39%, pasta – 15%, sugar – 53%, confectionery – 49%.

According to him, if the Kazakh government does not use “reasonable protectionism” now, then many Kazakhstan enterprises may go out of business.

“When we talk about issues of import substitution, we actually mean the interests of our country and population,” he said, stressing that priority should be for domestic products.