Tuesday, June 12, 2012 -
Tajikistan and its northern neighbor Kyrgyzstan will discuss border trade and frontier issues at their meeting scheduled for later this week.
The intergovernmental commission talks will take place in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on Friday and Saturday.
Participants will negotiate collaboration during the 2012-2013 period in the spheres of trade, economy, and industry, Tajikistan’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade said.
"As expected, will focus on border issues, particularly issues related to cross-border trade," an unidentified source told the Tajik Asia-Plus news agency.
Two-way trade between the tiny Central Asian republics soared 91 percent to $15 million over the first four months of 2012, year-on-year, the source said.
Around $11.6 million of this trade was spent by Tajikistan on Kyrgyz goods and services, mainly comprising coal, cement, and textile products, as well as paper and cardboard packaging.
For its part, Tajikistan sells Kyrgyzstan energy-saving lamps and edible salt among other products, according to the source.
Aside from legal trade across the Kyrgyz-Tajik frontier, a large amount of smuggling takes place. Tajikistan suffers from an acute energy shortage, providing easy money for illegal sales of petroleum products from Kyrgyzstan.
Afghan drugs are also carried across the poorly guarded border in the other direction and onward to northern markets in Russia and Europe.