Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cross that border smugglers by Sean Sawyer

Kyrgyzstan shutting its border with Uzbekistan has imposed a de facto embargo, stimulating a shadow economy, say researchers at a Bishkek-based think tank. 

The Central Asian Free Market Institute (CAFMI) found a 75 percent drop in trade at southern Kyrgyzstan’s largest market since Tashkent unilaterally the border.

The closure has also pushed up food prices -- which have risen more in Kyrgyzstan this year than anywhere else according to the World Bank -- since Uzbekistan traditionally was a major supplier of fruits and vegetables to Kyrgyzstan.

1100-kilometer border is open for smuggling, entrenching corruption as the arbiter of economic activity. In interviews with 109 illegal smugglers, the researchers found that many of them ferry cheap Chinese consumer goods to Uzbekistan and fruits and vegetables back to Kyrgyzstan, paying border officials bribes along the way.

Smuggler's keep free "illicit" trade flowing. Black marketeer's make it possible for individuals to survive. The market finds a way to exist where the command economies fail. These black marketeer's do the "dirty" work most agorist only talk about.

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