U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry looks at a finished locomotive cab during his tour of the Locomotive Plant in Astana, Kazakhstan

WTO membership could blunt economic influence of Russia.

Kazakhstan Goes Global

October 2013, Number 04.04

“Since Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the business community in Kazakhstan has carefully followed changes in the markets of our neighbor to the north. As Kazakhstan advances toward membership in the global trade club in 2014, the business world has begun to ask questions. How the country will manage simultaneous membership in the WTO and the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union (CU) is of particular interest. Will we see an “overlap effect” that doubles competitive pressure on businesses in Kazakhstan forced to compete with both Western and Russian firms? Or will there be an “exclusion effect” in which the realities of the WTO nullify some of the advantages enjoyed by Russian companies under the CU?

Competitive Alarm
The alarm in Kazakhstan’s business circles over entering the WTO is understandable. As members of the Common Economic Space (CES), Kazakh companies have found themselves hard-pressed by Russian competitors. Russian businesses enjoy lower taxes by locating factories in our country, and a robust expansion of such business into Kazakhstan has been underway since 2011...”

Excerpt from Aleksey Ikonnikov, “Kazakhstan Goes Global,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  4, No. 4, 2013: 30-35.

Aleksey Ikonnikov is economic observer for Tsentr Azii, a publication of the Center for Political Analysis and Public Relations of the Institute for Asian Research in Kazakhstan. Before joining Tsentr Azii in 2011, Ikonnikov served for more than a decade as special correspondent of the analytical journal Kontinent. Ikonnikov’s articles, analyses and reports are focused mainly on current economic conditions, financial sector problems and macroeconomic trends influencing Kazakhstan.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.