Analysis of Experiences in Trade between the Caspian Littoral States

Nevzat Simsek, Lidiya Parkhomchik, Kanat Makhanov

Abstract


Nowadays the littoral states of the Caspian region have moved far away from the legal-theoretical dilemma of whether the Caspian is a sea or a lake in a legal sense. The countries bordering the Caspian Sea are trying to regulate all aspects of the legal use of the basin including maritime transportation, fisheries, security and trade. Actually, the countries of the Caspian Five are at the very early stage of the process of shaping their own unique format of regional cooperation. Moreover, there are some signs detecting formation of an acceptable environment for weakening of mutual claims in the political sphere, which prevent the regional players from reaching an advanced level of economic partnership.

For instance, during the February meeting organized by the Turkmen Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Economy and Development in Ashgabat, representatives of the ministries and departments of the countries of the Caspian region discussed the draft Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Caspian countries. Moreover, the parties paid attention to the further advancement of the initiative of the President of Turkmenistan to establish a permanent Caspian Economic Forum.

Therefore, the Caspian Five are on their way of establishing preconditions necessary for launching the full-fledged international economic collaboration in the region. However, there are still major concerns over the ability of the littoral states to launch the regional integration process aimed to strengthen economic ties by creating supranational economic institution such as the Caspian Economic Cooperation Organization (CECO). In order to clarify the possibility of deepening economic cooperation among the five countries there is a need to conduct analysis of experiences in trade between the Caspian littoral states. Therefore, the paper is aimed to provide a comparison of different trade indexes, as a result of which it would be possible to determine whether or not the Caspian Five could reach the next level of international economic interaction.

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