Foreign Trade, FDI, and Capital Flows Study

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    Competitiveness of the Kyrgyz Economy in the Wake of Accession to the Eurasian Customs Union: Selected Issues and Opportunities
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-03) Choi, Jieun
    This report explores the sectors that will be instrumental for positive CU impact and competitiveness in the medium term. The initial chapter analyzes the gaps and opportunities the Kyrgyz NQI presents for capturing benefits of access to the enlarged common market across sectors. The next three chapters take an in-depth look at three high-growth sectors and identify adaptation priorities and opportunities. Agriculture, services, and garments are a large and growing share of exports and are the sectors most likely to be transformed by accession to the CU and the increased tariffs to countries outside the EEU. Services added 56 percent to GDP in 2013, while agriculture contributed 18 percent, and manufacturing 16 percent. Exports in the garment sector were close to US$200 million in 2013, employing over 150,000 workers. The main findings of each chapter are summarized below followed by a summary of recommendations. This report is relevant to the Kyrgyz experience as it highlights important differences both in terms of regulations and technical requirements. The report highlights differences between the EU and CU regulatory systems in approaches to food safety and legislation, but it also analyzes the differences in infrastructure aspects of the NQI, such as testing laboratories and certification mechanisms between the EU and CU. The Customs Union approach is based on end-product compliance to a specific technical regulation or standard, whereas the European Union relies on preventive measures and minimizing risks associated with each process throughout the complete food chain. In the CU food control system, food control bodies verify that the end-product meets the required technical specifications established by the government; in the EU system, end-product attributes such as size, color, shape, smell, and taste are generally left to the marketplace to judge if they are acceptable. Importantly, the report pinpoints specific technical requirements for EU food safety that differ from the CU requirements (microbiological criteria for foodstuff, contaminants in food; maximum residue limits for residues of pesticides, and pharmacologically active substances).