More information about Kazakhstan is available on the Kazakhstan Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States, on December 25, 1991, was the first country to recognize Kazakhstan’s independence. The United States opened its Embassy in Almaty in January 1992 and then relocated to Astana (renamed Nur-Sultan in 2019) in 2006. The United States opened a Consulate General in Almaty in 2009. In the years since Kazakhstan’s independence, the two countries have developed a strong and wide-ranging bilateral relationship.
U.S.-Kazakhstani cooperation in security and nuclear non-proliferation is a cornerstone of the relationship, as evidenced by Kazakhstan’s participation in the Nuclear Security Summits in Washington, DC (2010, 2016), Seoul (2012) and The Hague (2014). Kazakhstan showed leadership when it renounced its nuclear weapons in 1993 and closed the Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS). The United States assisted Kazakhstan in the removal of nuclear warheads, weapons-grade materials, and their supporting infrastructure. In 1994, Kazakhstan transferred more than a half-ton of weapons-grade uranium to the United States. In 1995 Kazakhstan removed its last nuclear warheads and, with U.S. assistance, completed the sealing of 181 nuclear test tunnels at the STS in May 2000. In the following decade, the United States and Kazakhstan worked together to seal 40 more nuclear test tunnels at the STS. Kazakhstan signed the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (1992), the START Treaty (1992), the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1993), the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2001). In 2015, the government concluded an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to host a low-enriched uranium bank in Kazakhstan. Under the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, the United States spent $240 million to assist Kazakhstan in eliminating weapons of mass destruction and weapons of mass destruction-related infrastructure. Kazakhstan’s security forces receive funds from the U.S. International Military Education and Training program, the Foreign Military Financing program, the Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Aid program, the Wales Initiative Fund, the Global Peace Operations Initiative, and the Building Partner Capacity program. Kazakhstan’s military participates in U.S.-funded military exercises like Steppe Eagle, Viking, Eager Lion, and Shanti Prayas.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Kazakhstan is the 79th largest trading partner of the United States, with a total of $2.1 billion in two-way trade in 2018. U.S. firms have invested tens of billions of dollars in Kazakhstan, concentrated in the oil and gas sector. Kazakhstan has made some progress in creating a favorable investment climate, although serious problems remain, including corruption and arbitrary enforcement of laws and contracts. A U.S.-Kazakhstan Bilateral Investment Treaty and a Treaty on the Avoidance of Dual Taxation have been in place since 1994 and 1996, respectively. In 2001, Kazakhstan and the United States established the U.S.-Kazakhstan Energy Partnership. Kazakhstan became a member of the World Trade Organization on November 30, 2015.
Sections 402 and 409 of the United States 1974 Trade Act require that the President submit semi-annually a report to Congress on continued compliance with the Act’s freedom of emigration provisions by those countries, including Kazakhstan, that fall under the Trade Act’s Jackson-Vanik Amendment. The U.S. Commercial Service provides support to U.S. businesses trying to enter the Kazakhstani market through counseling, market research, and a matchmaker program with Kazakhstani businesses.
U.S. Assistance to Kazakhstan
U.S. Government assistance to Kazakhstan focuses on combating transnational threats (trafficking in persons, narcotics, terrorists, and weapons of mass destruction materiel), improving the functioning of the judiciary, promoting an increased public role for civil society and mass media, maintaining Kazakhstan’s open investment and trade environment, helping the government provide effective social services, and supporting Kazakhstan’s efforts to increase its production of low-cost clean energy.
Kazakhstan’s Membership in International Organizations
Kazakhstan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations. Kazakhstan is a member of the United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and North Atlantic Cooperation Council. Kazakhstan held a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2017-2018, held the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2010 and held an OSCE summit in Astana in December 2010. It is an active participant in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Partnership for Peace program. Kazakhstan also engages in regional security dialogue with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Kazakhstan founded the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). Kazakhstan is also a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Kazakhstan is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan is William H. Moser; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Kazakhstan maintains an embassy at 1401 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel. 202-232-5488), as well as its Permanent Representative’s Mission to the UN in New York.
More information about Kazakhstan is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Kazakhstan Page
USAID Kazakhstan Page
History of U.S. Relations With Kazakhstan
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies