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China Attacks Markets of Central Asia

Kirghuzia, with help of newly created Euroasian Economical Community, tries to run the economical blockade it has gotten.

Kirghizia’s partial isolation is connected first of all with the process of borders’ fortification in Central Asia. The lines which earlier had only a symbolic significance now become unassailable borders both for people and goods. In first weeks of new year, Uzbekistan fully closed its borders with Kazakhstan and Kirghizia. In Osh Region, the bridge over Kara-Suu River was destroyed, over which Uzbeks and Kirghizs got to markets of each others. The situation in the south of Kazakhstan is similar. Astana in turn introduced taxes for goods transit through its territory. According to the analysts, it is this anti-market measure which at once reduced exchange of goods between Kirghizia and Siberia.

 
As a reaction to this measure, Kirghiz authorities built in the capital airport Manas huge goods terminals to surmount customs and border barriers which now separate countries of Central Asia. At the same time, goods streams will be turned in another direction.

In particular, Kirghizia hopes for trade ties with China. This south neighbour has become already its main trade partner. Only last year, trade turnover with this country increased by 60 percent, while Kirghiz import increased almost twice. These ties will become much stronger, if Kirghizia joins the transport inter-continental passage North-South, which in general corresponds with Great Silk Way. Then, markets of India, Pakistan, and South-East Asia are open. For, many centuries ago, this ancient way linked Europe with the East, creating big trade centres. Now, one of such centres could be the city of Osh, south capital of Kirghizia.

Recently, China significantly increased its trade presence in the region. Its big trade firms united with small local businessmen and became main suppliers of cheap goods to markets of Siberia and Ural Region. Though, this is just the first step. The Kirghiz-Chinese commission on trade and economical cooperation already completed working out of a special programme of bilateral partnership. The programme contains over 500 big projects with Chinese capital participation, some of them have been already realized. For example, not far from China, a paper fabric was launched. While since this year, air corridor over Chinese territory to South-East Asia was created. Therefore, the airport Manas in the city of Bishkek is becoming a big goods “trans-shipment point” between China and Europe. According to specialists, transit of goods from Europe to Asia could bring 250 million dollars to Kirghiz treasury, in other words, it will twice enlarge the today’s budget.
 
Unfortunately Russia not actively participates in these projects. Therefore, it could lose its trade ties ceding them to more active and aggressive China.

Yury Razgulaev
RPAVDA.Ru
Kirghizia
Bishkek

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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