Since gaining independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has established diplomatic relations with over 110 countries. It is a member of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the Islamic Development Bank and several other international organizations. In January 1995, Kazakhstan signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union, with a view to establishing closer economic and political ties with the European Union. The European Union and the United States have recognized Kazakhstan as a country with a market economy.
Kazakhstan has acceded to many major international conventions and expects to become a member of the World Trade Organization. Together with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Originally formed to deal with matters of border control, this organization now deals with combating terrorism, drug and weapon smuggling, and other issues.
Kazakhstan also actively encourages economic relationships with Russia and its neighboring countries in Central Asia. It is a member of the Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) – an international organization founded by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan with the aim of furthering collaboration among community members, primarily in the fields of economics, finance, and social policy. Together with most other CIS countries, Kazakhstan is a member of a treaty providing for a free trade zone among these countries, and is also a signatory to a treaty with Russia, Belarus and Ukraine for the creation of a free economic space and harmonization of macroeconomic policies.