Kazakhstan expands import ban on products from Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan to compensate losses for victimised traders

Kazakhstan expands import ban on products from Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan to compensate losses for victimised traders

Kazakhstan has updated the list of Kyrgyz enterprises banned from import.

The updated list includes such Kyrgyz companies as Shin Line LLC, Talas-Sut CJSC, Elimai LLC, Ak-Sut OJSC and Tuunganbayev FE, according to the Kazakh Agriculture Ministry.

These companies used to export milk and dairy products to Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan returned more than 400 tonnes of fruit imported from Kyrgyzstan on October 24. Out of 59 cases of import of quarantine products, 41 were recorded from Kyrgyzstan. In 11 of them, production was imported without a mandatory phytosanitary certificate (93.3 tonnes of apples and pears, 21 tons of grapes and 4 tons of beet). A few days later, dairy products from Kyrgyzstan were destroyed in Almaty.

On October 30, Kazakhstan seized 3.5 tonnes of Kyrgyz trout and 15 kilograms of trout caviar.

At present, only 20 Kyrgyz enterprises have the right to supply their products to Kazakhstan. These enterprises include ten milk processing plants, eight fish processing plants and two producers of finished meat products.

The problem of veterinary control on the border with Kazakhstan dates from the moment of Kyrgyzstan's entry into the EAEU. To fully participate in its activities, the country was set to create bio-laboratories designed to issue certificates of compliance of agricultural products with all-Union standards.

In January-May 2017 the supply of Kyrgyz dairy products to Kazakhstan increased by 37.1 per cent and of vegetables by 28.2 per cent.

Kazakhstan and Russia are the main markets for the export of Kyrgyz products, as stated by the deputy director of the State Agency for Promotion of Investments and Export under the Ministry of Economy, Shumkarbek Adilbek Uulu at the roundtable, Kabar reported.

The share of Kazakhstan in the export of the Kyrgyz Republic amounts to 22.2 per cent and Russia’s share to 21.3 per cent, following the results of 2016, according to the deputy director.

"This shows that Russia and Kazakhstan are the main partners. At the same time, being a witness of the risks that arose recently, Kyrgyzstan, is set to seek new markets," he said.

Adilbek noted that the markets of China and Uzbekistan are being studied. Experts are studying the purchasing power of these countries and the opportunities of Kyrgyzstan for export.

"The situation itself must be resolved solely through dialogue. There are problems that need to be discussed," he added.

Kazakhstan introduced additional control measures on the Kyrgyz-Kazakh and Russian-Kazakh state borders on October 10, 2017. The measures are taken as part of an overall plan, according to Kazakh side.

Meanwhile, the average daily number of persons and vehicles from Kyrgyzstan decreased by 2.4 times at the major and busiest checkpoints Ak-Zhol and Ak-Tilek after the introduction of additional control measures by the Kazakh side.

Since October 10, as many as 3,000 persons and 300 transport units cross the border daily. Previously, more than 8,000 persons and over 600 transport units crossed the border each day.

On October 18, during a meeting of Kyrgyz Prime Ministers Sapar Isakov and his Kazakh counterpart Bakytzhan Sagintayev in Astana, the parties agreed to give priority in crossing the state border to individuals with personal luggage, vehicles carrying out regular passenger transportation, motor transport, and empty cargo vehicles.

To date, the issues with loaded vans remain unresolved.

During a meeting of the EAEU states held on October 25, the sides couldn’t find the solution to the problem at the state border.

In January-August 2017, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member-states grew 31.6 percent to $10.8 million. In the total Kazakhstan-EAEU states trade turnover, Kyrgyzstan accounts for 4.3 percent.

Kyrgyz MP Azamat Arapbayev speaking at the Parliament committee for economic and fiscal policy on Tuesday said that Kazakhstan introduced a silent embargo.

 "It's been 21 days since Kazakhstan introduced enhanced control on border. They've created huge trouble for our entrepreneurs. Kyrgyzstan is represented at the Eurasian Economic Commission by 2 people, but we haven't heard anything from them so far. Prime Minister, Economy Minister are trying, we see it, but nothing is done by the representatives in the EEC," he said.

In this regard, Arapbayev suggested to consider their competences and responsibilities. "They must reported to the parliament committee," he added.

He also reminded that Kyrgyzstan started facing problems in the fuel and lubricant market.

"95% of fuel is imported from Russia. Prices for fuel grew worldwide, fuel shortage is emerging, perhaps it all could lead to price hikes. If oil price is rising, duties will be imposed, and then we'll have price hikes. We must achieve a balance, count and try to import without duties," he said.

The government of Kyrgyzstan has adopted a resolution aimed at assisting businesses and entrepreneurs who have suffered financial losses due to delays at the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border.

Prime Minister Sapar Isakov said on October 30 that he signed a resolution under which traders, vendors, and others affected by the border bottleneck would receive tax relief and other benefits to compensate the losses.

Kyrgyzstan has blamed Kazakhstan for long lines and the slow movement of travelers, cars, and trucks across the border, delays that began when Kazakh authorities stepped up checks at the frontier on October 10.

The delays began after outgoing Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev accused Kazakhstan of meddling in the campaign for Kyrgyzstan's October 15 presidential election and criticised the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev over his long rule.

Kazakh officials have denied any political motive for stepped-up procedures at the border.

Both countries are members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which also includes Russia, Belarus, and Armenia.

The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said on October 27 that Kazakhstan's actions contradicted the goals of the EEU, which include easing trade among its members.

On October 24, Kyrgyzstan said it was denouncing an agreement under which it would have received some $100 million in aid from Kazakhstan earmarked to help bring its infrastructure up to EEU standards.

By Kamila Aliyeva for AzerNews, AKIpress, the Times of Central Asia. Image