The Analytical Center has hosted a round table on economic relations and development of the EEU, during which experts discussed the similarities and differences between the member states, foreign trade, currency exchange rates, money transfers as well as the current state and development prospects of economic integration within the EEU.
After the disintegration of the USSR the steepest population decline among EEU member states was seen in Armenia (-17.3% between 1991 and 2016), however, in the neighboring Georgia the population declined even more (‑22.5%), noted Victoria Pavlyushina, advisor of the Department for Research Works of the Analytical Center. Furthermore, in recent years the population of Armenia has grown while in Georgia it has continued to decline. "The population in Belarus and even Russia has declined naturally since 1990 while Central Asian countries and especially Kirghizia and the neighboring Uzbekistan has seen their populations expand," the specialist said. "Meanwhile, the demographic indicators in the EEU are better than in the other comparable post-Soviet countries. Thus, in 2016, Ukraine's population was 18% lower than in 2000 and that of Georgia was 16% lower".
According to Ms. Pavlyushina, Russia's the richest country in the EEU, however, in recent years Kazakhstan has practically caught up with it in terms of per capita GDP and Belarus has made significant progress on this count as well. Kirghizia remains a poor country; however, its living standards are now approaching what they used to be when it was part of the USSR. Armenia has seen its living standards improve drastically over the past 25 years.
A fairly large proportion of the consumer spending in the EEU is comprised of non-durable goods, including groceries. In 2014, over 43% of the total household spending in Kazakhstan went on groceries; it's 2 times as much as in Turkey and 2.5 times as much as in Poland. "In terms of the share of durable goods in total consumer spending EEU countries, and especially Russia, out-pace Poland but are behind Turkey and Uzbekistan," Ms. Pavlyushina said. "In terms of spending on personal transport, mostly car purchases, Belarus and Kazakhstan are on a par with Poland while Russia is significantly ahead of it."
As for trade between EEU countries, in 2015-2016 it fell but not as much as the amount of trade between the EEU and the outside world, noted the Deputy Head of the Department for Research Works of the Analytical Center Alexander Golyashev. Furthermore, without taking into account the mineral fuels, the total trade between EEU member states increased by 3.3% in 2016, while foreign trade outside the EEU fell by 3.4%, the expert explained.
According to the expert, about 97 per cent of the total turnover within the EEU involves Russia, including the 60% of the total trade between Russia and Belarus and the 31% between Russia and Kazakhstan. At the same time Russia has a positive trade balance with all the other EEU member states.
It should be reminded that earlier Analytical Center experts drafted a bulletin on the current trends in the global economy focusing on economic relations and development of the EEU.