First Results of the Joint ECFS/IFRPI Project China/Russia 2030: Opportunities for Central Asia Agri-Food Exports, and How to Take Advantage of Them

We are happy to share three analytical studies on Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan. This studies serve as the basis for the main report prepared in the framework of the project China 2030: opportunities for agriculture in Central Asia:

Kazakhstan - download
Kyrgyz Republic - download
Uzbekistan - download

China/Russia 2030: Opportunities for Central Asia Agri-Food Exports, and How to Take Advantage of Them is a joint ECFS/IFPRI research project initiated by the World Bank and dedicated to studying opportunities for expanding trade in agricultural and food products between Central Asian countries, Russia, and China in 10 to 12 years. Following an initiative of ECFS researchers, an analysis of the current state of, and outlook for, the development of trade and economic relations between Central Asian countries and Russia was included in the project. This initiative may be justified by the fact that both China and Russia are located in Central Asia and have significant economic influence in the region. This influence is linked to the increasing integration processes among the focus countries: the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), to which two countries (Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic) belong; the development of the single Eurasian trade and economic space and transcontinental transport corridor (the Silk Road Economic Belt); and further development of bilateral cooperation.

Based on the results of the recently completed first part of the study, Russia is one of the largest importers of Central Asian products in the region. The volume of trade between Russia and the focus countries varies: the largest volumes are between Russia and Kazakhstan and between Russia and Uzbekistan.

The competitiveness analysis for Russia and Central Asia, calculated using the revealed comparative advantage (RCA) index (commonly referred to as the Balassa index), indicated the significant competitiveness of products from this region in the world market. At the same time, Russia possesses certain comparative advantages different from the Central Asian countries, which confirms the potential for further growth of exports from Central Asia to Russia.

Hence the comparative advantage of agri-food products from Central Asian countries is the key factor for increasing the export potential from these countries to Russia and China. In each country in the focus region, the authors identified certain products that have high export potential and could be in demand in the Chinese market. In Kazakhstan, these products include wheat, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, sunflower meal, rapeseed oil, and rapeseed meal. In the Kyrgyz Republic they include apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, and walnuts. In Uzbekistan: fresh and dried apricots and plums, peaches, nectarines, walnuts, grapes, melons, and watermelons. At the next stage of the study, experts will put together a list of products that are in demand in the Chinese market.

As a result of the study, stakeholders have the opportunity to see the wide range of possibilities for trade in agri-food products in the Chinese and Russian markets. Work on this project is continuing. More detailed information on the preliminary results of the study and calculation methods is available here.

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