DUSHANBE, December 21, 2009, Asia-Plus  -- Tajikistan’s admission to the Customs Union that is created by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia is not yet possible because there many problems that impede this, Firouz Saidov, the head of the social and market surveys department within the Center for Strategic Studies, said in an interview with Asia-Plus.

According to him, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan are to profit by creation the Customs Union because they have common borders (Belarus has common border with Russia and Russia has common border with Kazakhstan).  Moreover, they are economically connected and these countries are practically at the same level in terms of development of their economies.

“In the meantime, Tajikistan does not have common border with these countries,” said the senior from the Tajik think tank, “Uzbekistan, which is not member of the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC), separates us from the future Customs Union.  As far Kyrgyzstan is concerned, it cannot enter the Customs Union because it is member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Therefore, Tajikistan’s admission to the Customs Union without participation of Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan in the Union will be of no use to us.”

“Moreover, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are not today so interested in Tajikistan’s joining the Customs Union because Tajikistan is significantly behind them in terms of economic development, while to reach their economic level will take many years,” said Saidov, “However, our country is making active preparations for joining the WTO and if we manage to do this in the near future, additional problems with joining the Customs Union will arise automatically.”

We will recall that Professor Hojimahmad Umarov, who is Tajik expert on economic issues, told Asia-Plus on December 16 that today, Tajikistan will not gain anything by joining any customs union.  “At present, so-called border taxes and duties account for more than 46 percent of the national budget receipts and if Tajikistan joins the future Customs Union, volumes of these taxes and duties may significantly decrease,” he said.