Kyrgyzstan is considered to be a full member of the Eurasian Economic Union for two months already. However, the ordinary people of the country - like, indeed, the businessmen - do not feel a real difference. Kyrgyzstan, as six months ago, continues to timidly hover at the threshold of EEU.
August 12. Many residents of the country were waiting for this day. The Presidents of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev and Nursultan Nazarbayev opened the customs border between two states in online mode. Years of reflections, months of inconstancy, hasty adoption of new laws were left behind. A long and a bright future is laying ahead. Way off the mark! The most interesting and frightening is up ahead.
Open borders- no open arms
In less than a week, news feeds were full of information about the huge queues at Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border. The first entrepreneurs, who wish to take advantage of Kyrgyzstan's accession to 180- million market of EEU, had to face the harsh reality. The mechanisms of the passage of Kyrgyz goods through the border are not tried and tested. All participants of the process- businessmen, taxmen, border guards - needed time to work out the system. And to tell the truth: corruption at the customs can not be eradicated by a wish alone. And the "surprises" were waiting for our entrepreneurs on the Kazakh side also. But the businessmen were ready to tolerate it all. They said that the first days are always difficult and it takes time to get used to the new system of the passage of goods through the border.
A month has passed. Employees of the State Revenue Service stopped watching at the border round the clock. Thirty days is more than enough to learn how to correctly fill in all the necessary papers. But the situation has not changed. Say the least, by the end of the first month of Kyrgyzstan's membership in EEU, Kazakhstan has imposed restrictions on the import of products from Russia and Kyrgyzstan to protect the market from low-quality products. Reports that the national system of veterinary control has not yet received the status of equivalent to EEU standards also do not bring joy. Without this recognition the export of our meat and dairy products to the union is closed. As for the domestic industry, it is still limping on both legs.
A bilateral meeting of the head of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atambayev and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of CSTO summit in Dushanbe was dedicated to a comfortable existence of Kyrgyzstan in EEU.
"Treaty on accession of Kyrgyzstan to the Eurasian Economic Union came into force on August 12. I am sure that this will create additional opportunities for joint efforts in the development of our economies, and hence the solution of social issues. I am pleased to exchange views on the full range of cooperation issues with you and with our colleagues. As you can see there is a fairly representative delegation from our side," the Russian President Vladimir Putin stated.
Delegations of two countries were really impressive. And the very fact that the economic issues were discussed at the security summit means a lot. At least it means that not all problems were solved in the course of longstanding negotiations. There are good reasons why Almazbek Atambayev noted in a conversation with his Russian counterpart that there shouldn't be questions to each other between the friendly countries. But they are, and are still not resolved.
"Kyrgyzstan has not yet got any benefits from joining the EEU. We were dancing shamanistic dances with a tambourine for three years instead of the real re-industrialization. Somebody said: buy goods, vehicles and we will sell it all to Kazakhstan. In fact, everything stands still. Now people do not know where to sell it all. Kyrgyzstan's economy is living by its own rules for a long time, the politics - by the other and the Parliament - by the third ones," the expert Kubat Rakhimov said.
Where is it, shoulder of the state?
The day before, the entrepreneurs were officially honored. Their professional holiday was for the first time marked in Kyrgyzstan in 2000. As usual, the statesmen talked a lot about the fact that entrepreneurs are the basis of the Kyrgyz economy, the creators of the state's welfare. Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Temir Sariev has once again reminded that the government is doing everything possible to minimize government interference in business.
"The number of public services has been already reduced 54 times and inspection bodies - up to 12. In addition, the number of activities, subject to licensing has been reduced up to 101. Only together we will work and create a good environment for business development. In recent years, after 2010, we have managed to do much. Something has been done before. But only after the change of leadership of the country five years ago, we were able to reverse the situation and make a number of important steps that will yield results in the nearest future," Temir Sariev said.
He also touched upon the issue of deriving maximum benefits from the accession of Kyrgyzstan to EEU. The Prime Minister rightly stated that Kyrgyzstan needed to create competitive advantages.
"Kyrgyzstan should faster than its EEU partners reform the tax system amid its accession to the Eurasian Economic Union. We are planning a radical reform. We need to quickly create competitive advantages, including those at the legislative level," Sariev said.
Easier said than done. The EEU is holding proceedings between the old allies on the sales markets. Each of the countries - founders of the union- wants to expand them to market their products, but at the same time it does not hasten to let the competitors in. There is no way for a newcomer Kyrgyzstan...
"There are certain problems with the movement of goods from the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic to other states of EEU. We believe that this has more to do with technical issues, but we ask partners to pay attention to these points and to take measures to prevent discrimination against people and goods coming from Kyrgyzstan," the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Temir Sariev said at a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Grodno (Belarus).
Entrepreneurs of Kyrgyzstan are special people. They know how to survive and develop in the hardest, seemingly unbearable conditions. For the years of independence, they have experienced a lot of "storms", but remained afloat almost without government support. Now they again have to reform their business. But this time they can hardly make the brand "Made in Kyrgyzstan" recognizable and popular in the Eurasian Economic Union without the support of the state. They will not be able to survive on their own in the battle of EEU titans.