Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Another Failed Integration Effort by Moscow: EAEC Members Trade Less with Each Other than with Outsiders

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 19 – One of the goals of Vladimir Putin’s Eurasian Economic Community was to integrate the members more closely with each other and Moscow, but a new study by the Belarusian economics ministry shows that he has failed and that EAEC members trade far less with each other than they do with outsiders.

            According to an article by Yuliya Ganakova of the ministry’s chief administration for economic integration, EAEC member countries’ trade in services with each other is far less than their trade with other countries (thinktanks.by/publication/2022/11/19/strany-eaes-pochti-ne-okazyvayut-uslug-drug-drugu.html).

            She reports that on average, trade in services with other members amounts to “only 12 percent” for all of the countries in the grouping. Moreover, that figure has not grown since the EAEC was created, and there is little sign that members are prepared to do anything to promote its expansion now.

            Ganakova notes that the EAEC itself has identified 48 ways in which governments restrict such trade, limitations that the signatory states have committed themselves to removing. But up to now, they aren’t moving very fast in that direction: Belarus maintains 40 of them, Kazakhstan, 39, Russia and Kyrgyzstan 38, and Armenia 37.

            Consequently, however much Putin and others talk about the EAEC as an alternative to the EU, the reality is that this is another example of a failed integration effort by Moscow and that while neighboring countries are prepared to meet and talk about integration, they aren’t prepared to take real steps in that direction.

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