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Kyrgyzstan’s benefits from joining to Eurasian Union questionable

11:37 12 May 2015
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Baku, Azerbaijan, May 12

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

Kyrgyzstan’s benefits from joining to the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia are questionable, researcher at CIDOB Barcelona Centre for International Affairs Nicolas de Pedro believes.

“The worsening prospects of the Russian economy and the Western sanctions make short-to-mid-term benefits for Kyrgyz economy more dubious,” de Pedro told Trend.

The expert noted that Kyrgyzstan expects to have easy access for its migrant workers into the Russian market following joining to the Eurasian Union, however it is far from clear that this is going to be case.

Moreover, Kyrgyzstan might have an easier access for its agricultural production in Kazakhstan and Russia within the Eurasian Union, but remains to be seen what happens with non-tariffs barriers, according to de Pedro.

“Aside from that, it is bit unclear what might Kyrgyzstan expect from its membership,” the expert said.

Meanwhile tariffs to Chinese and EU products will be increased in Kyrgyzstan following its joining to the Eurasian Union, de Pedro said and noted that when the same happened with the tariffs in Kazakhstan it meant a general increase in the prices of consumer products.

Besides, Kyrgyzstan will have to accept that its membership in the Eurasian Union reduces its room for maneuvering in foreign policy terms, the expert said.

Regarding Kyrgyzstan’s influence on the Eurasian Union, the expert believes that its accession does not change the Union.

“It rather confirms the growing (geo) political nature of the project instead of economic one,” de Pedro said.

Other European expert - Director of the International Crisis Group’s Central Asia Project Deirdre Tynan noted that different people explain the reasons of Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the Eurasian Union in different ways.

“Russian officials will tell you Kyrgyzstan wanted to join the Union, Kyrgyz officials will tell you they had no other choice, they will also emphasize the benefits the Union can bring to its migrant population,” Tynan told Trend.

The expert noted that in the short term, Kyrgyzstan can expect an intense period of adjustment and the difficulties associated with joining such as increased prices on food and consumer goods. Meanwhile the overall benefits of joining the Union will not be apparent for many months, she said.

Tynan believes that joining to the Eurasian Union now, before Tajikistan is a question of prestige for Kyrgyzstan, she said.

Kyrgyzstan officially joined the Eurasian Economic Union last week. The protocol on Kyrgyzstan’s accession was signed at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council at the highest level on May 8 in Moscow. The protocol should be ratified by the parliaments of the member countries of the Eurasian Union.

Edited by S.I.

Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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