Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Emerging Eurasian Continental Integration: Trade, Investment and Infrastructure

Vinokurov, Evgeny (2014): Emerging Eurasian Continental Integration: Trade, Investment and Infrastructure. Published in: Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies , Vol. 6, No. 1 (January 2014): pp. 69-93.

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Abstract

The aim of this paper was to review the tectonic changes in the structure of economic linkages in the Eurasian continent. Within the last two decades, the end of the autarky of China and the COMECON bloc led to a dramatic opening to the global economy and to cooperation within the Eurasian continent. This is particularly visible with regard to trade. It is also visible in investment, where Eurasia is not only more integrated, but is also multi-polar. Emerging pervasive cooperation in the Eurasian landmass is primarily a bottom-up story, with intergovernmental cooperation lagging behind the rapid developments on the micro-level of companies and people. Since Eurasian linkages are highly dependent on the development of common infrastructure, there has recently been a great deal of activity in this field. Still, the cross-border railway and automotive infrastructure and electric power linkages in particular remain hugely underdeveloped. On the normative side of the evolving Eurasian continent-wide cooperation and integration, there is a need for a deliberately low-key, pragmatic and technocratic agenda. Institutional integration faces numerous hurdles in Greater Eurasia: the asymmetries of size, the level of development, and political regimes. These hurdles are unlikely to be overcome in the coming decades. Structuring cooperation according to a functional principle and focusing on such domains as physical infrastructure, some sector-specific and continent-relevant elements of regulatory convergence, as well as counteracting continent-wide issues of ‘shadow integration’, ranging from drug-trafficking to epidemiological threats, is therefore crucial.

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