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Kazakhstan aims to triple wheat exports to China -president

ALMATY, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan could potentially more than triple wheat exports to China, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on a visit to China on Wednesday.

Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest grain producer, and Russia, one of its main competitors in wheat exports via the Black Sea, have long sought to sharply increase wheat and other agricultural exports to China.

"Last year (Kazakh) grain exports to China reached 550,000 tonnes," Tokayev's office quoted him as saying at a meeting of a Chinese-Kazakh business council in Beijing.

"We could increase these volumes to 2 million tonnes." No timeframe was given for reaching the target.

Tokayev did not say what measures Kazakhstan and China would need to take in order to achieve such growth. He also said the former Soviet republic could supply China with salt, dairy products, meat and poultry.

China is already a major market for Kazakhstan's exports of oil, gas and metals.

Kazakhstan traditionally exports most of its grains to neighbouring Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, the Caucasus and further west through the Black Sea ports.

Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, expects China to open its market for imports of wheat produced across all regions of Russia within a year, its agriculture ministry said last week. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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