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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhs Cut Russia Imports

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan aims to cut imports from main trading partner Russia from early next year to help domestic producers to compete with the flood of cheap goods triggered by the collapse of the ruble.

"The access of a number of Russian goods, especially food products, to the Kazakh market will be limited temporarily," Valery Nikolayenko, Russian ambassador to Kazakhstan, said at a news briefing Monday.

He said Kazakhstan would export less alcohol and tobacco to Russia as a result of protocols signed between the neighboring states during Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's visit to the Central Asian state last week.

The Russian economic crisis has put a major strain on the Kazakh economy, pressuring the tenge currency and squeezing farmers and other industries, particularly in northern regions.

The two nations share a 7,500-kilometer border, where control points will be set up to enforce the agreements and to stem the flow of drugs moving north across Kazakhstan from Afghanistan.

Both sides have taken pains to stress that the protectionist measures, which run counter to a five-member customs union to which both countries belong, are only temporary and in no way generally threaten good economic and political ties.

Kazakh Economy, Industry and Trade Minister Mukhtar Ablyazov said on Friday the limits would be enforced from Jan. 5 for several months.

Nikolayenko said that by boosting trade ties in sectors like oil, gas, electricity and metals Russia and Kazakhstan could see trade flows rise to $5 billion.