In 1990, about 89% of Kazakhstan's exports and 88% of its imports represented trade with other former Soviet republics (at foreign trade prices). A serious disruption in the country's trading patterns occurred as the input procurement system within the Soviet centrally planned economy disintegrated, the uses of hard currency and world market-determined transaction prices were adopted by former USSR republics, and export demand from Eastern European countries shrank in the early 1990s. To facilitate adjustment to these hard new realities, the government decreed key trade liberalization measures in early 1992, ending export license requirements. With liberalization, exports and imports increased substantially through the 1990s.
Exports are dominated by petroleum products, followed by nonferrous and ferrous metals—a pattern likely to continue for some time to come. Kazakhstan's largest imports were machinery and oil and gas products.
Principal trading partners in 2000 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows:
|China (inc. Hong Kong)||669||154||515|