US commerce secretary confers with Central Asian leaders


ASTANA -- US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev met Wednesday (October 24) in Astana to discuss economic relations between their two countries, Kazinform reported, citing the president's website.

Annual trade between the two countries is worth about $2 billion (733.4 billion KZT), Nazarbayev said, noting that this figure grew by 30% this year.

"Kazakh-US relations have reached the level of an expanded partnership," he said, adding that Ross' visit demonstrates Washington's interest in strengthening co-operation with Central Asian states.

The visit is Ross' first to Kazakhstan, and he was accompanied by a delegation from 16 American companies.

On Tuesday (October 23), Ross conferred with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and addressed the American-Uzbek Chamber of Commerce Business Forum, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

"I want to applaud the successful political and democratic reforms that are under way in Uzbekistan and to encourage your continued commitment to them," Ross said at the forum, according to a transcript posted by the US embassy in Tashkent.

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