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Analysis of Informal Obstacles to Cross-Border Economic Activity in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan


  • Vakulchuk, Roman

    () (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI))

  • Irnazarov, Farrukh

    () (Central Asian Development Institute (CADI))


The barriers to trade in developing countries constitute one of the major obstacles to economic development and growth. This study aims at addressing the issues surrounding the prevalence of informal trade barriers in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. While it appears to be logical that the strongest economies of Central Asia should increase trade volume with neighboring countries, in reality the potential for intensifying cross-border trade is barely being realized. This paper attempts to shed light on trade barriers in key industries in both countries, including manufacturing, transport, and agriculture. As can be seen from this study, these industries experience different types of restrictions and varying degrees of state intervention in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The paper places special emphasis on informal barriers and the tools companies use to overcome those barriers. The paper is based on a survey of a total of 108 companies in both countries and the output of a roundtable discussion in Kazakhstan with representatives of companies and other experts in the above-mentioned industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Vakulchuk, Roman & Irnazarov, Farrukh, 2014. "Analysis of Informal Obstacles to Cross-Border Economic Activity in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan," Working Papers on Regional Economic Integration 130, Asian Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbrei:0130

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alexandr Akimov & Brian Dollery, 2006. "Uzbekistan's Financial System. An Evaluation of Twelve Years of Transition," Problems of Economic Transition, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(12), pages 6-31.
    2. Richard Pomfret, 2011. "Trade and Transport in Central Asia," Book Chapters,in: Werner Hermann & Johannes F. Linn (ed.), Central Asia and the Caucasus: At the Crossroads of Eurasia in the 21st Century, chapter 3, pages 43–62 Emerging Markets Forum.
    3. Raballand, Gael & Kunth, Antoine & Auty, Richard, 2005. "Central Asia's transport cost burden and its impact on trade," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 6-31, March.
    4. Roberts, Donna & Josling, Timothy E. & Orden, David, 1999. "A Framework for Analyzing Technical Trade Barriers in Agricultural Markets," Technical Bulletins 33560, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    5. Kobil Ruziev & Dipak Ghosh, 2009. "Banking Sector Development in Uzbekistan," Problems of Economic Transition, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(2), pages 3-41.
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    More about this item


    Kazakhstan; Uzbekistan; trade; formal and informal barriers; cross-border activity;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F20 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - General
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

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