24 Jun 2024
CASE Policy Briefs

The consequences of granting PNTR to Kazakhstan

This policy brief examines why the US has not yet granted Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Kazakhstan, even though Kazakhstan joined the WTO in 2015. Both countries seem eager to resolve this issue. While the immediate benefits to trade and investment might be limited, granting PNTR could attract more US investment in the future. However, this would require Kazakhstan to implement complementary policies, such as further privatization and reducing the influence of politically connected businesses.

Additionally, there is significant potential to improve the business environment in Kazakhstan, even if political reforms towards greater democracy are unlikely. Since 2022, Russia's shift eastwards and China's use of Kazakhstan as a trade route to Europe have greatly increased trade and investment from both countries. In this context, granting PNTR would support mutual engagement between the US and Kazakhstan and help Kazakhstan balance its trade relations amid growing global polarization.


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