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BISHKEK, January 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Politics long-ago propelled central Asia's Kyrgyzstan towards joining the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan (CU) but the republic’s economy cannot compete yet against those of other member-states, Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev told Itar-Tass on Friday.
“Therefore, Kyrgyzstan’s entry into the Customs Union without certain conditions may have grave negative consequences for us,” he said. “The other side [Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan] understands it and we are currently seeking the solution to this problem.”
Satybaldiyev said there was no point in joining the economic union unless this was advantageous to the republic. “It is no use risking in such a situation,” he added. “Given that some big problems may follow, we need a transition period.”
The prime minister said that in opening its customs borders to partner countries, Kyrgyzstan may “lose domestic producers” who would be unable to compete against more powerful foreign companies.
“We certainly favor the integration as there can be no growth in the republic’s economy without developing trading relations,” Satybaldiyev said. “But we should be protected at least in some ways.”
This was the reason Bishkek asked CU states to create a kind of supporting fund for Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the organisation, which could finance the country’s economy in the transition period.
“Then we could go boldly into the Customs Union. Without it, it would be really difficult for us. It would be difficult to sign an agreement which is disadvantageous for us,” Satybaldiyev said, adding that he hoped agreement would be possible with CU states and that the Kyrgyz side “is already looking for ways to address the problems”.
Kyrgyz authorities decided to enter the union in spring 2011. Six months later, the republic officially applied to join the assembly, the parties charged to complete a roadmap for integration by the end of 2013.
Bishkek considered it irrational to enter the CU, however, without guaranteeing “the protection of its national interests”.