Tuesday, August 07, 2012 -
Tajikistan’s latest macroeconomic statistics released Tuesday showed trade turnover with Uzbekistan plummeted by nearly 30 percent to just $22.2 million in the first half of 2012.
The overwhelming share of that amount reflects Tajikistan’s dependence on Uzbekistan as its sole supplier of natural gas. Tajikistan consumed more than $20 million worth of gas from its Central Asian neighbor in the first six months of this year.
The figures are the latest evidence that the slide in trade relations between the two has become an established trend. Two-way economic relations between the uncomfortable neighbors have imploded by one-third annually in recent years, the local Avesta news agency reported.
Imports of fuel and electricity from Uzbekistan gradually wound down and eventually stopped, according to the country’s ministry of economic development and trade.
In recent months, Uzbekistan imposed rail blockades of transit goods into Tajikistan and cut gas supplies without warning, in retaliation for Tajikistan’s insistence on building the massive Rogun damn, which Uzbekistan maintains will rob its farmers of precious irrigation water.
The two former Soviet republics’ relations are consistently tense as they bicker incessantly over borders, ethnic minorities, and water supplies.