Kazakhstan`s Regulatory Environment
Until the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1992, its governmental system for
metrology and standardization applied to all the union republics, including
Kazakhstan. To avoid disintegration of the system for standardization in the
post-Soviet era, the member nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS), including the Republic of Kazakhstan, adopted an agreement* under which
the national standards of the USSR in force prior to 1992 were adopted as
intergovernmental standards of the CIS members. Thus, Kazakhstan inherited
thousands of standards from the USSR. The majority of these are still in use
in Kazakhstan. In addition, the agreement included a provision that the
industry-specific regulatory documents approved by the government of the
former USSR and in force prior to 1992 could be used in the CIS member nations
until the introduction of new, national regulatory documents by the nations
signing the agreement.
Current Regulatory Environment
Since gaining independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has developed its own technical
regulations and standards to replace some of those of the former USSR.
However, until recently the processes for developing these documents and
applying them in practice and the procedures for oversight of compliance with
requirements were based on principles inherited from the socialist system. The
limitations of the old system for technical regulation became obvious after
centralized planning was discarded and Kazakhstan has made significant
progress toward creating a market economy. The European Union and the U.S.
Department of Commerce recognized the success of Kazakhstan`s reforms by
granting it market economy status. The fundamental changes leading to
globalization of the world economy and the gradual integration of Kazakhstan
into the world economic system in recent years have made it necessary to
eliminate technical barriers and to reform the old Soviet system for
standardization and technical regulation.
Reforming the System for Technical Regulation
The Republic of Kazakhstan Law № 603-II, “Technical Regulation”, which became
effective as of May 13, 2005, establishes the legal foundations for the new
regulatory framework suitable for Kazakhstan’s new economic model. The new
non-tariff regulation system will resemble regulatory regimes adopted by other
nations committed to free-market principles. It will rely on a healthy balance
of mandatory government regulations and voluntary private-sector technical
standards to protect public health, safety, and the environment.
What is non-tariff regulation? Non-tariff regulation includes licensing of
business activities, certification of products and services, and requirements
in the form of national laws, orders, codes, government resolutions, technical
regulations, standards, and other legal and technical documents. Tariffs and
quotas are mechanisms for tariff regulation.
The Transitional Period
The law on technical regulation establishes a transitional period during which
new government regulations that define mandatory safety requirements for all
individuals and legal entities operating in Kazakhstan will be developed and
The Technical Standards Are Still in Force
To paraphrase Mark Twain, news of the death of technical standards has been
greatly exaggerated. Nobody has canceled the existing technical standards in
Kazakhstan. The previous regulatory documents, including technical regulations
and requirements in the spheres of health, safety, and environmental
protection will remain mandatory during the transitional period.
Licensing and Certification
Certification of products and services will follow the existing procedure
until the new technical regulations enter into force. As a new legal basis for
assessing the compliance of products and services with safety requirements is
developed, certification will become voluntary, except for those cases where
specific products are covered by national laws. Business activity will
continue to be regulated by the law on licensing.
The technical regulations and standards in use in Kazakhstan have been
gathered into a single database, the Database of Industry Standards of the
Republic of Kazakhstan. To access it,
subscribe to the Regulatory Information
*Agreement of the Heads of Government of the CIS Nations dated March 13, 1992.