A report from Dutch bank Rabobank has extolled the possibilities in boosting trade between Europe and China via overland rail link going through Central Asia. The rail networks connections would be collectively known as the Yu-Xin-Ou Railway, and the Radobank report notes that the demand for European fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat would drive trade to increase in those areas by some 17% between 2015 and 2025. It noted that China merely lacks the rail terminals necessary to import food from China.
An added obstacle is the obstinacy of Russia and Kazakhstan, links along the railway chain, to remove restrictions on European food importations. It is unknown if these restrictions apply to freight passing through the countries. Generally, the worsening relations between the countries of the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union) and the EU are thought to be part of a wider effort to cut off European exporters from an overland export route to Chinese markets, which would be more lucrative than relying on shipping. Russia announced its displeasure with the approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would increase bilateral trade between the US and China by a wide margin, probably because of continued economic reliance on continued demand for imports from China.
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- A German natural gas company, DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG, has pulled out of Turkmenistan by relinquishing its applications for drilling permits on the Caspian Sea shelf over frustration at the excess bureaucracy and corruption, according to an alternative news site in Turkmenistan. The website said that the DEA AG, decided to halts its applications despite the completion of all preparatory work, and blamed specifically the Turkmen State Agency for Management and Use of Hydrocarbon Resources, which answers to Berdimuhamedow himself. The reason cited by the agency are the drilling zones’ proximity to the Hazar nature reserve.
- Japanese industrial conglomerate Sumitomo has won a bid to build a new 400 Megawatt gas-fired power plant in Turkmenistan by 2018, the first official project announced as the result of a series of $18 billion deals between the two countries after a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The deals are aimed at increasing the capacity of the Turkmen economy to increase natural gas output to China, which is its largest customer.
- The US took measures to prevent the exportation of fighter jets to Uzbekistan by South Korea, which was reportedly worth about $400 million, according to the Diplomat. The planes in question – T-50 Golden Eagles for Korea Aerospace Industries, developed jointly with Lockheed Martin, were halted from the trade through the intervention of Lockheed on behalf the US government, which can reserve the right to halt the sale of defense-related materials to countries that are made by major defense contractors. A Korean military source blamed the blocking of the sale on Uzbekistan’s increasingly close relationship with Russia.
- Kazakhstan’s Energy Ministry announced it is evaluating a prospective fine on the operators of the Karachaganak oil field, BG group and Eni, of almost $2 billion, the same amount promised back in 2010 if the joint venture did not allow the Kazakh government to take a 10% stake in the project. The evaluation has come about as a result of not having fulfilled certain “contractual obligations,” which may be a mere pretext for the government to take a larger stake in the Karachaganak field, which is the second largest oil field in Kazakhstan, after Kashagan.
- Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambaev has officially asked the Social Democratic Party, the winner of the Parliamentary elections of earlier this month, to establish a ruling coalition, the first stage in the formation of a new government. The Social Democrats (SDPK), after receiving 28% of the vote, must align with several other political parties, since due to stipulations in the Kyrgyz constitution, if none of the parties receive more than 60 seats, a coalitional government must be formed. In the meantime, an interim government rules Bishkek.