Trade data for the first half of 1995, just released by the CIS Statistics Committee, show a continuing decline in the reciprocal trade among CIS member countries. Compared to the same period in 1994, reciprocal imports decreased by 6% while imports from non-CIS countries increased by 23%; and reciprocal exports decreased by 0.3% while exports to non-CIS countries increased by 31%. The importance of neighboring non-CIS countries in the foreign trade of some CIS countries also continued to rise: for example, Iran and Turkey accounted for more than 60% of Azerbaijan’s foreign trade, while Germany and Poland account for more than one third of Belarus’ foreign trade. (18)
The data, if accurate, suggest that the regrets often expressed by leaders of CIS member countries over the decrease in intra-CIS trade are mostly irrelevant, as market forces inexorably reorient the countries’ foreign trade. However, that reorientation may be impeded by some protectionist measures, such as the Moscow-promoted formation of a CIS customs union.
1. Interfax, September 15.
2. Itar-Tass and Interfax, September 15.
3. Reuters, September 15.
4. Interfax, September 15.
5. Itar-Tass, September 14, 15, 16.
6. Itar-Tass, Russia’s Radio, Moscow’s Echo Radio, September 17.
7. Itar-Tass, September 15.
8. Itar-Tass, September 15.
9. Interfax, September 15.
10. Interfax, September 15.
11. Russia’s Radio, September 17.
12. Rossiya, No. 34
13. Itar-Tass, Radio Russia, Russian TV, Segodnya, September 16-17.
14. Interfax-Ukraine, September 15.
15. Interfax-Ukraine, September 17.
16. Itar-Tass, Interfax, and Reuters, September 15.
17. Itar-Tass, September 15.
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