Buying and Selling

flag Kazakhstan Kazakhstan: Buying and Selling

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | E-commerce | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier

 

Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
International Economic Cooperation
Kazakhstan is a member of the Organization of Shanghai Cooperation, the Eurasian Economic Community, the Common Economic Area and the Organization of Economic Cooperation.
Non Tariff Barriers
Today, most goods can be imported without license although each time a signed contract has to be shown to the authorities. However, an import license is necessary for any set of products: chemicals, medicines, medical equipment, oil exploration and waste equipment...
Import of narcotics, arms and ammunitions is prohibited.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Customs duty is variable as per the products. The customs duty is calculated on the CNF value of the goods (transactional value + packing cost + transport cost). Few products are exempted from import duty. In export, nearly all products are exempted from custom duty. 

Excise duties are collected on the following products: alcoholic drinks, tobacco, oil products, private cars, jewellery, leather and fur garments, crystals, salmon and caviar. The excise duty tariff can vary from 7 to 100%.

Visit the information portal on taxes and customs duty.



Customs Classification
Visit the information portal on taxes and customs duties.
Import Procedures
All goods entering the customs territory of Kazakhstan are subject to declaration and customs clearance at approved customs clearance points. A declaration must be filed within thirty days of the arrival of the goods to Kazakhstan, but a brief declaration and notification on arrival of goods shall be submitted to the customs body within 24 hours after the goods cross the border and are placed at a temporary storage warehouse. Except for private persons permitted to transfer goods under a simplified procedure, a customs declaration must be filed by a Kazakhstani entity - that is, a business organization registered under Kazakhstani law or its affiliate or representative located in Kazakhstan, an individual entrepreneur registered in Kazakhstan, or a permanent resident of Kazakhstan. Foreign entities cannot deal directly with customs officials in Kazakhstan and are legally required to use services provided by licenced customs brokers having the right to operate in Kazakhstan.
 
A party declaring commercial goods at a customs office in Kazakhstan for their release for free circulation is responsible for submitting the paper and electronic copies of customs declarations (one copy of each per shipment), as well as accompanying documents. The Customs Cargo Declaration (5 copies) must be completed in either the Kazakh or Russian language. Other documents may be submitted in a foreign language. A customs officer, however, has the authority to request a translation of such documents into Kazakh or Russian as well as a notarization of the translation. In addition to the Customs Cargo Declaration, a party declaring goods is required to submit a set of other documents including invoices, a contract for the supply of goods, an import/export transaction passport, and shipping documents (e.g., bill of lading, airway bill, etc.) The transaction passport is the primary tool used in the framework of the currency control system. The transaction passport represents a cross-agency document filled out by the exporter/importer and reviewed by customs officials and representatives of the exporter/importer’s bank.

For more information, please visit the website of the Kazakh State Revenue Committee.
Importing Samples
The declarations can be made through Internet on the website Web-declarant
 
 
For Further Information
Customs Control Committee

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer Profile
Since the end of Soviet rule, there has been a growing middle-class in Kazakhstan that holds responsibility for the majority of goods sold in the country. The country is considered an upper-middle-income country by the World Bank. An important trend of the past years was the slowdown of inflation: in 2021, inflation is at 6.4% (IMF), within the target corridor of the National Bank of 6-8%. With a rise in real incomes, consumers are increasingly demanding quality products and brand names. Inexpensive Russian and Chinese goods flow across Kazakhstan’s borders, but Western goods and expertise are also in demand. In some cases, consumers are willing to pay more for imported goods that offer higher quality and innovation. Customer service in Kazakhstan is often unsatisfactory; however, providing customers with after-sales service could give businesses an added value.
Slightly more than half of Kazakhs (57.5% in 2019 - World Bank, latest data available) live in cities, mostly in Almaty, Chimkent, Qyzylorda, Astana and Atyrau. Recently, women showed an increasing role in Kazakhstani society, being more active in business, political and social life.
Consumer Behaviour
After enjoying several years of economic growth, consumer confidence is hindered by the decline in worldwide oil prices which affected Kazakhstan’s economy. As a result, consumer spending has declined and shopping habits have changed. Moreover, most consumers are no longer turning to loans and credit to make purchases and mortgages are hard to come by despite the high demand for housing.
There is a strong disparity of salaries between different regions and sectors of activity: the salaries received in finance and mines are the highest, those of employees in social services, health and education are the lowest. Internet retailing has grown as consumers opened to this form of shopping to look for lower prices and a wider choice compared to brick-and-mortar shops.
Consumers Associations
National Consumer League of Kazakhstan
Main Advertising Agencies
TBWA
Rekla Matrest
Fine Design

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
According to the Kazakh State National Agency of Statistics, volume of retail trade in January-July of 2018 year amounted 5298,2 billion KZT and is expected to grow 5,6% in 2018.
The distribution of the retail turnover shows that the sector is still in an early stage:
-    43,3% of the business is made by individual entrepreneurs
-    29,9% of the turnover is made by small companies
-    8,4% by medium size companies
-    18,6% by large enterprises
The distribution circuits in Kazakhstan are first of all composed of markets where the prices are globally lower than those in the stores, mini markets and shopping centres. Almaty counts 73 markets and Astana 23; the chain of supermarkets Ramstore has opened 6 stores in Almaty, 2 in Astana, and one in Chimkent and Karaganda. The retail market volume is concentrated between: Almaty city (30,5% of the total); Astana city (12,3%); Karagandy and East Kazakhstan (by 8,8%)
Market share
The main retail distributors of food products, clothing, perfumery, household and other consumer products are Magnum Cash&Carry, RAMSTORE, INTERFOOD, ESENTAI GOURMET, STOLICHNY and SILK WAY SUPERMARKET (MyGuideKazakhstan).

Foreign distributors have started to invest heavily in the country:

  • Metro: the brand is present in the country with 6 stores since 2008 (according to the distributor's website)
  • Fix Price: as stated by the Russian market player on its website, there are currently 3 stores in Kazakhstan in 2021

Grocery retailer chains such as Ramstore, Gourmet and Macrocenter are expected to continue to expand. Magnum Cash&Carry leads sales in Kazakhstan and is part of the most successful top 10 companies in the country. According to Euromonitor International, its success can be attributed to its offering of good products at affordable prices. The company’s stores offer various consumer goods, including bakery products, meat, fish, gastronomy, grocery, cookery, confectionery, dairy, baby food, salads, bread, dough, cakes, and semi-finished products. It operates through 89 shopping centres in Almaty, Astana, Kaskelen, Karaganda, Taldykorgan, Shymkent and Petropavlovsk. To find out more about the Grocery Retailers in Kazakhstan, you can consult the country report by Euromonitor International.

Retail Sector Organisations
National Chamber of entrepreneurs of the Republic Kazakhstan
Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

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E-commerce

Internet access
Internet access has grown significantly in Kazakhstan over the past few years. By the end of 2017, there were a little over 14 million internet users in Kazakhstan, making the penetration rate 76.4%. However, access in rural areas - where 45% of the population reside - is still more limited than in urban regions. Free internet access is available in various public places. However, most people access the internet at home and from their mobile devices. Kazakhstan has a well developed mobile broadband market, with high mobile internet penetration rates compared to other former Soviet Union countries. Both mobile internet and fixed-broadband are affordable to Kazakhstani people. Access is distributed relatively evenly across Kazakhstan’s multiethnic communities. However, the competition between the Kazakh language and Russian has an impact on access, as there is much more content available in Russian than in Kazakh, especially in alternative news coverage online and social media discussions. It is worth noting that there is a number of laws in the country that allow the government to suspend telecommunications networks, making it one of the reasons why Freedom House rated the internet in Kazakhstan as 'not free' in 2017.
E-commerce market
Kazakhstan’s e-commerce sector is still underdeveloped. However, it has been showing significant growth in the last few years. The sector is estimated to grow at a rate of 25% per year for at least the next three years. According to official statistics, the e-commerce market reached US$ 322.4 million in 2017, which represented 1.2% of the total retail turnover and a 36.2% increase from the previous year. In the first five months of 2018, e-commerce turnover reached US$ 304.6 million, 2.9% of the total retail turnover. The number of customers has also increased (5% from 2017 to 2018). However, less than 7% of the population shops online and the number of in-market online merchants is small. Since the beginning of 2018, 110 new e-commerce retailers have been registered in the country. Kazakhstan currently counts 1,658 online stores, employing 71,600 workers. The government has been investing in the segment, improving legislation and postal services, as well as exempting e-commerce companies from taxes. The most popular e-commerce category is fashion, followed by cosmetics and food. The main obstacles for e-commerce development in Kazakhstan are rudimentary systems of online payment and delivery, and a low level of consumer confidence in e-shopping. For that reason, the most popular payment methods are cash-on-delivery and bank transfer, with 60% of all payments being made using cash, while cards account for 20% of them. Cross-border e-commerce is extremely popular. The leader among foreign online shops in Kazakhstan is eBay. In 2017, 39% of the goods were purchased from the United States, 12% from Europe and 11% from Russia. Only 29% of purchases were made from local shops. Some of the most popular e-commerce websites in the country include OLX.kz, Kolesa.kz, and Wildberries.kz.

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Kazakshtan is a country enclosed in the heart of Eurasia. The main means of goods transport are railways, road and air transport.
Ports
Aktau International Port
Atyrau port
Airports
Almaty International Airport
Sea Transport Organisations
Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development
Air Transport Organisations
Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development
Road Transport Organisations
Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development
Rail Transport Organisations
Kazakh Railways

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
Apart from crude oil and natural gas, Kazakhstan produces minerals whose reserves are still less explored. There is a production of iron ore in Karaganda. In the siderurgy and non ferrous metallurgy sector, we find refined copper, lead, zinc, bauxite (Alumina plant in Pavlodar), uranium (15% of the world's reserves), tungsten, nickel (Uralnikel complex near Orsk city), manganese, gold, and silver. There are also coal mines in Karaganda and Ekibasturz. In addition, the country produces tractors and other agricultural machines, construction material and electric motors. Moreover, Kazakhstan is seeking to modernize and diversify away from overdependence on extractive industries and is thus trying to build a high-tech capacity.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
All.biz - Kazakhstan - Directory of companies in Kazakhstan
Central Asia Commerce - Business resource and directory of Central Asia
connect2india - Kazakhstan business directory
Expat.com - Kazakhstan business directory
Express Business Directory - Kazakhstan business directory
Kazakhstan YP - Kazakhstan business directory
Maps.me - Kazakhstan business directory
 

To search directories by industry in Kazakhstan, check out our service Business Directories.

 
Professional Associations by Sector
24 professional associations listed for Kazakhstan.
 
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Chamber of commerce and industry Astana, Kazakhstan
American Chamber of Commerce in Kazakhstan
General Professional Associations
Atameken: Union of entrepreneurs (in Kazakh)
Association of Small scale industries
 
 

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Latest Update: November 2022