Chinese imports will become more expensive.
Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan developed a niche role in Central Asia by importing and re-exporting goods made in other countries, above all China.
When it enters the Eurasian Economic Union this May, it will have to impose customs tariffs that protect the bloc’s common market, and apply them to China as well. Until now, its trade with its giant neighbour has come under the rules of the World Trade Organisation, of which both states are members.
Traders at wholesale markets like the giant one at Karasuu in the southern Osh region have long raised concerns about the new barriers to commerce.
“We mainly import goods from China. Once we’re in the [Eurasian] customs union, all these goods will become more expensive, and we’ll raise our prices accordingly,” said Myrzayym, a woman who trades at the Karasuu bazaar. “What can we do? If people still buy them, we’ll sell them.”
Asanbek Pazil is an IWPR contributor in Kyrgyzstan.
This audio programme went out in Russian and Kyrgyz on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan. It was produced under two IWPR projects, Investigative Journalism to Promote Democratic Reform, funded by the European Union; and Strengthening Capacities, Bridging Divides in Central Asia, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the EU or the Norwegian government.