Tuesday, August 07, 2012 -
Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the customs union should be phased to protect the national economy, a Kyrgyz expert said Tuesday.
“To survive in the customs union, Kyrgyzstan needs to work out a complex economic development program,” Sergei Ponomarev, president of Markets Retail and Services Association told the local independent 24.kg news agency.
The Bishkek government applied to membership in the post-Soviet customs union currently comprising Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.
Ponomarev noted that Kyrgyzstan lost trade with Russia and Kazakhstan with creation of the union.
“Kyrgyzstan doesn’t have any serious achievements, while at the same time Kazakhstan increased its turnover with Russia and Belarus,” he said.
The expert said Kyrgyzstan has to date failed to create a necessary economic development program to deal with current and future trade patterns.
The strongly pro-customs union administration of Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev has faced strident opposition from other government factions who predict that Kyrgyzstan’s position as a re-exporter of Chinese goods will be compromised.
While the resale of Chinese goods is a major contributor the gross domestic product, traders foresee membership as undercutting the country’s current advantage to do that cheaply.
Ponomarev used to hold anti-customs union views, but now believes the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
“I said we shouldn’t join the customs union. However, I have changed my mind and consider that we need a phased accession plan that guarantees our positions of defense,” Ponomarev said.
There will be more minuses than pluses in the first year, so the country needs strong political motivation to endure the initial rough ride, he added.