18 May 2018 14:03

Shift from CIS/EAEU markets to EU killing Moldovan industries - Dodon

CHISINAU. May 18 (Interfax) - The economic reorientation of Moldova toward the European Union for political considerations is doing colossal damage to local industries, Moldovan President Igor Dodon said in an article published by the Moldovan Economic Review Logos Press on Friday.

"National development should not depend on political games of domestic or foreign forces. It is the top priority of the Moldovan administration to ensure sustainable economic growth and prevent an exodus of citizens. That requires a balanced approach to foreign economic activity," Dodon said.

Moldova needs good relations with the West and the East based on national interests, he said.

"We should immediately return to the traditional markets of CIS and EAEU countries," Dodon said, adding that was why Moldova acquired observer status in the Eurasian Economic Union.

He supported this argument with an analysis of Moldovan exports, 46% of which went to CIS countries, 45% to the EU, and 9% to other countries until 2009.

When the regime changed in 2009, foreign policy and economic priorities abruptly changed with it, alongside the geography of Moldovan exports, Dodon said.

"The Association Agreement signed [with the EU] in summer 2014 changed the situation even more. A clause on strategic partnership with Russia was removed from the programs of three governments after 2014. As a result, the share of CIS countries dipped to 19% (11% in the case of Russia), while the share of EU countries soared to 66% in 2017. The drastic change in foreign trade priorities had serious implications for the Moldovan economy," Dodon said.

Moldova lost about $2 billion in export revenue in 2014-2017, while increased exports to the EU yielded only $460 million. Net losses exceeded $1.5 billion, Dodon said.

Moldovan economic growth rates, exports, foreign investments, and living standards have declined as a result, he said.

Economic entities of EAEU countries are not rivals of Moldovan businesses in the Moldovan domestic market or in Russia, Dodon said.

"Our imports from Russia and other EAEU countries do not crush our market and do not kill our manufacturers. Meanwhile, there is steady demand for our exports on the Russian market. A direct consequence of the free trade documents signed in 2014-2017 was the increase of imports from the EU and Turkey, which are killing Moldovan industries, just as economists said they would. The stance of the Moldovan government and the pro-European parliament majority has been contributing to that," Dodon said.