Reviews

In preamble to their iconoclastic study, the authors note that statistical disparities in remote areas of the underdeveloped world often go relatively unnoticed, though they can sometimes provide clues to important processes that otherwise might escape scholarly investigation. Relying on mirror foreign trade statistics and their reconciliation with official data on balance of payments, the author demonstrate the important role of bazaars as major conduits of trade in Central Asia, and particularly of Kyrgyzstani bazaars for the entry of Chinese consumer goods into Central Asia. They demonstrate how Kyrgyzstan has become in less than a decade the re-export platform for Chinese consumer goods bound for Central Asia (with around $2 billion of re-exported goods in 2006, and an estimated $3.7 billion for 2007). Leaving aside smuggling and other illegal activities, the crux of the matter is that Kyrgyz customs regulations have become friendly to shuttle-trading: The explanation for Kyrgyz “success” lies in the special regime applied to trade in the bazaars, notably those of Dordoi and, to a lesser extent, Karasuu ― a key place for the understanding of the global evolution of present-day Central Asian societies, as suggested also by G. Raballand’s reviews of the articles by Regine Spector in the present volume of the Reader. Among the positive spillover effects of these liberal arrangements of governing bazaar-related activities, the authors mention the increase of Kyrgyzstan’s light industry exports since 2001. At the same time, they also evoke the possibility for Kazakhstan to soon emerge as serious rival in the re-export trade within Central Asia.

The Redaction
CER: II-7.4.D-656