Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan Favor EEU Economic Integration

On May 8, Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan convened in Moscow for a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council – the governing body of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

The event, which marked the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Russian-led economic integration bloc, was also attended by heads of the EEU observer states, President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

In his address, Kazakhstan President Tokayev remarked that in the relatively short period since the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union was signed in Astana ten years ago, cooperation between the parties has contributed greatly to the development of Kazakhstan’s economy, and stated: “The correctness of the chosen vector of development of our association has been confirmed by the macroeconomic results of the past decade. Thus, Kazakhstan’s trade turnover with the EEU member countries has increased 1.7-fold and reached $28.5 billion.”

Referencing the positive potential for EEU cooperation with rapidly developing countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, he urged EEU member states to join the Ashgabat Agreement on the creation of an International Transport Corridor to engage with markets in the Persian Gulf.

The Kazakh president also emphasized the need for improvements to trade links between Europe and Asia, North and South, and warned that unless renewed, the existing infrastructure in the Eurasian region will continue to deteriorate.

Citing the modernization and expansion of transport and logistics infrastructure as a key priority, he stated, “In Kazakhstan, we plan to repair 11,000  and build over 5,000  kilometers of new railways by 2030. As part of the Belt and Road initiative, a Kazakh terminal, built in the Chinese city of Xi’an, accounts for up to 40% of all container traffic on the China-Europe route. There are also plans to launch 5 cross-border transport and logistics hubs on Kazakhstan’s borders with Russia, China, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, and on the Caspian Sea.”

Kyrgyz President Japarov announced that further development of Eurasian economic integration, including the creation of a single market for goods and services without barriers, a common energy market, and freedom of movement of labor resources, remains a priority for Kyrgyzstan.

Regarding benefits afforded by Kyrgyzstan’s membership of the EEU, Japarov said that the country’s trade with EEU member states has grown by 76%, from $2.5 billion to $4.4 billion, its exports to EEU countries have tripled from $410 million to $1.23 billion, and its imports  increased by more than 50%, from $2 billion to $3 billion. Apart from gold, 80% of Kyrgyzstan’s exports go to the EEU countries.

The Kyrgyz president also emphasized the importance of linking the EEU and the Chinese Belt and Road initiative.

Despite the current observer status of his country and the EEU, Uzbek President Mirziyoyev reported that over the past three years, trade between Uzbekistan and the EEU has grown by 60 percent.

Looking ahead, he announced, “Uzbekistan is interested in expanding practical partnership and more active participation in the implementation of multilateral projects of interaction with the EEU.”

He too, reiterated the importance of developing the North-South transport corridor to increase trade with South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East.



Times of Central Asia

Times of Central Asia

Laura Hamilton MA, is the former Director of the Collins Gallery at the University of Strathclyde. She first visited Kyrgyzstan in 2011 to research and curate a major exhibition of contemporary textiles and fashion. Since 2012, she has worked as an editor on over thirty translations of Central Asian novels and collections of short stories. In more recent years, her work has focused on editing translations of Kyrgyzstan's great epics -'Ak Moor', Saiykal', Janysh Baiysh', 'Oljobai and Kishimjan', 'Dariyka', 'Semetey' and 'Er Toshtuk' for The Institute of Kyrgyz Language and Literature, and the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University.

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