Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Kyrgyz Hesitate Over Trade Union With Moscow

By Aisuluu Odrakaeva











The Kyrgyz government is planning to join a customs union with Russia, Kazakstan and Belarus, but the wisdom of doing so remains controversial.

Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev said recently that the country was likely to join in 2012.

Harmonising customs arrangements with Russia and Kazakstan is seen as essential for the Kyrgyz economy. Membership would bring undoubted benefits, easing Kyrgyzstan’s trading ties with Russia and Kazakstan – both important partners – and making it easier for firms from those countries to provide much-needed investment.

But others argue that joining the union will undermine Kyrgyzstan’s existing advantages and obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation, WTO. Neither Russia nor Kazakstan is in the WTO, but China, another important trading partner and a more dynamic economy, is, and Kyrgyzstan could lose as much as it gains if Beijing changes export arrangements. 

The audio programme, in Russian and Kyrgyz, went out on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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