Alexander Libman, Moldova: Structural Change, Trade Specialization and International Integration in:

Ruslan Grinberg, Peter Havlik, Oleh Havrylyshyn (Ed.)

Economic Restructuring and Integration in Eastern Europe, page 231 - 260

Experiences and Policy Implications

1. Edition 2008, ISBN print: 978-3-8329-3417-0, ISBN online: 978-3-8452-1004-9,

Bibliographic information
231 Moldova: Structural Change, Trade Specialization and International Integration Alexander Libman Introduction Two major reasons for the underdevelopment and transformation failures discussed in the development and transition economies literature are the ‘curse of geography’ and the ‘curse of institutions’. Some countries, despite or even because of their abundance of natural resources, fail to develop the necessary institutional framework, while others with poor resource endowment fail despite effi cient economic reforms. This picture is over-simplifi ed; nevertheless, it helps to focus attention on the most interesting and important features of economic development of these countries. In the post-Soviet world1, examples of both problems are present: the ‘resource curse’ in Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and the defi cit of resources in institutionally more advanced countries such as the Kyrgyz Republic or Armenia. Moldova is a ‘mixed’ case: On the one hand, the absence of the resource curse has allowed the country to advance in institutional reforms; at the same time institutional progress has so far failed to reduce the agricultural specialization of the economy (already present in the Soviet Union), limiting potential development. On the other hand, Moldova – like Georgia, Azerbaijan and, to a certain extent, also Tajikistan, Armenia and the Caucasus – suffers from signifi cant political risks associated with state-building failure (Transdniestrian confl ict), which directly affect the economic structure and the country’s institutions. This paper discusses outcomes and trends in the economic development of Moldova, focusing primarily on three dimensions: structural shifts, trade specialization, and regional and global integration. It starts with a survey of selected macroeconomic and structural indicators of the republic, which allows a comparison with other counties in the post-Soviet space. The next section deals with Moldova’s foreign trade and trade specialization. The aim of Section 4 is to place the Moldovan path of transformation in a general analytical framework, followed by an analysis of resources/geography and institutions/reforms as factors in structural change. The next two sections discuss specifi c problems – the Transdniestrian confl ict and labour migration – and their relation to structural shifts. Section 7 presents a brief overview of Moldova’s institutional integration into the world economy and regional structures (such as WTO, CIS, EU). The last section comprises the conclusion. 1 In this paper, the post-Soviet world is defi ned as the 12 CIS countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Havlik_Layout.indd 231 12.06.2008 09:26:06 232 There is a unique statistical problem which needs clarifi cation: the territorial divide with separate administration in the Transdniestrian Republic. For the most part, the data presented cover the central part of Moldova, for two reasons: inaccuracy or unavailability of Transdniestrian data, and the lack of central control there. However, because the two economies are linked and have very different characters, it is important to include a section focusing on Transdniestria. Macroeconomic and structural dynamics and FDI Industrial restructuring trends were typical of the whole post-Soviet space (see Table 1). However, the depression in the early 1990s had a much higher impact on Moldova and, even after recovery, growth rates were generally lower than the CIS average. The current improved growth dynamics are explained by ‘growth export’ from Russia, Ukraine and Romania, favourable weather conditions and correction of imbalances by the currency crisis in 1998, once again ‘exported from Russia’ (Dabrowski, 2003). Table 1: Selected growth rates in Moldova and in the CIS 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 GDP growth rates, % Moldova -17.50 -29.00 -1.20 -30.90 -1.40 -5.90 1.60 -6.50 -3.40 2.10 6.10 7.80 6.60 7.30 8.41 CIS average -8.53 -20.26 -12.38 -14.74 -5.21 -0.52 4.51 2.27 3.12 6.35 7.51 6.96 8.93 8.99 8.82 Industrial growth rates, % Moldova -11.10 -27.10 0.30 -27.70 -3.90 -6.50 0.00 -15.00 -11.60 7.60 13.70 10.80 15.60 8.20 6.30 CIS average -5.22 -22.55 -11.46 -21.13 -9.40 -0.68 4.48 0.52 3.61 9.20 9.66 7.45 11.88 8.74 9.28 Total investments growth rates, % Moldova - -26.00 -44.00 -51.00 -16.00 -8.00 -8.00 10.00 -22.00 -15.00 11.00 11.00 7.00 8.00 1.00 CIS Average - -39.00 -30.63 -11.43 -1.63 5.50 12.13 17.25 -3.29 13.20 11.20 18.10 31.11 16.44 11.85 Growth rates of agricultural sector, % Moldova -10.0 -16.0 -10.0 -24.0 3.0 -13.0 12.0 -12.0 -8.0 -3.3 6.4 3.0 -13.6 20.4 1.0 CIS average -9.6 -7.2 -2.0 -11.0 -3.5 -2.7 3.1 -0.4 3.7 3.2 8.8 2.8 1.4 8.0 4.6 Note: CIS average = unweighted average of indicators for all countries for which reports were available in the respective year. Source: CIS Interstate Statistical Committee, 2006 Moldova is among the poorest countries of the CIS; in 2004 GDP per capita, at half the average level of the Former Soviet Union, exceeded only that of Turkmenistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. In terms of the absolute value of GDP, Moldova outranks only Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Moreover, it is also the poorest country in Central and Eastern Europe (Figure 1). Havlik_Layout.indd 232 12.06.2008 09:26:06 233 An interesting feature is that the decline of industrial production exceeded that of total GDP in the early 1990s. In 2001-2003 the growth rates of industrial production were signifi cantly higher than the CIS average. The only period when Moldova performed much worse than the CIS in general was in the crisis and post-crisis years of 1998 and 1999. On the other hand, Moldovan investment statistics are dismal: in all years but 1992, the country showed a worse performance than the CIS in general. The current investment growth is also signifi cantly lower than that in the post-Soviet space. Moreover, the development of investments did not correspond to the simple macroeconomic model according to which a decline in interest rates is likely to cause an increase in investments. On the contrary, in the early 2000s the decline in interest rates was associated with a decline in investments as well – probably because of low confi dence (see Hill, Mesropyan and West, 2005). It seems that the relatively good performance of industrial production is mainly based on the use of old assets and production facilities. This creates potential risks for further economic development, as Economou (2002) shows in his study of potential output. Since the economy has reached full productive capacity and there are no underutilized assets (as in Russia in the late 1990s), he concludes that the only way to achieve additional growth is through investment. Figure 1: GDP per capita, 1990 USD (Geary Khamis purchasing power parity) of the CIS and CEE countries, 2004 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 Ta jik is ta n Tu rk m en is ta n K yr gy z R ep ub lic M ol do va Se rb ia & M on te -n eg ro M ac ed on ia Al ba ni a A ze rb ai ja n R om an ia U zb ek is ta n U kr ai ne G eo rg ia B os ni a & H er ze go vi na Ar m en ia B ul ga ria R us si an F ed er at io n K az ak hs ta n C ro at ia P ol an d B el ar us H un ga ry Li th ua ni a S lo va k R ep ub lic C ze ch R ep ub lic La tv ia E st on ia S lo ve ni a Source: The Conference Board and Groningen Growth and Development Center, Total Economy Database, January 2006. Havlik_Layout.indd 233 12.06.2008 09:26:06 234 A high share of agricultural products characterizes the sectoral structure of Moldova’s GDP, partly the result of the earlier Soviet development trends, but also due to the Transdniestrian confl ict. The general problem of de-industrialization typical of post- Soviet countries was exacerbated in Moldova, as the separation took away much of the existing industry, the rest becoming, perforce, an agrarian country. On the other hand, the common post-Soviet trend of primitivization has been less evident (although there has been no improvement in the economic structure, either). Since 1997, the share of agriculture in gross value added has been higher than that of any other sector (excluding ‘other activities’); nonetheless, it decreased from 30% in 1997 to 21% in 2004 (see Table 2). Industrial production in Moldova also depends heavily on agriculture. According to some estimates, agro-processing is responsible for about one half of industrial output (Hensel and Gudim, 2000). About 50% of Moldova’s population lives in rural areas, and agriculture employs 40% to 50% of the workforce; the distribution of employment by economic activity has been relatively stable over years. The development of Moldovan agriculture does not follow the trend of the CIS, which may be explained by the predominant importance of weather factors (which are, naturally, very diversifi ed in the huge Eurasian space) and signifi cant differences within the composition of the agricultural sector. Table 2: Main sectors of Moldova’s economy: gross value added and employment 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Composition of gross value added Agriculture, hunting and forestry - - - - - 30% 30% 28% 29% 25% 24% 22% 21% Industry - - - - - 24% 20% 19% 19% 21% 20% 21% 19% Construction - - - - - 6% 4% 4% 3% 3% 3% 3% 5% Wholesale and retail trade - - - - - 10% 12% 17% 14% 14% 13% 13% 12% Transport and communications - - - - - 8% 9% 9% 11% 12% 11% 13% 13% Other activities - - - - - 24% 25% 23% 24% 24% 29% 29% 29% Distribution of employment by economic activity Industry 21% 15% 14% 12% 12% 12% 11% 11% 11% 11% 11% 12% 12% Agriculture 37% 43% 46% 46% 43% 42% 46% 49% 51% 51% 50% 43% 41% Rest 43% 42% 41% 42% 46% 47% 43% 40% 39% 38% 39% 45% 47% Source: Department of Statistics of Moldova, 2006. Strong specialization in agriculture is probably the main problem for economic development. Regardless of the general diversifi cation issues derived from the risks of agriculture (discussed under foreign trade), agriculture has a limited capacity to foster economic development. Agricultural markets are limited because of the very structure of people’s preferences: increasing wealth is usually associated with a lower share of agricultural products in total consumption. Moreover, agriculture is probably the most regulated sector of the global market, with high trade barriers and subject to signifi cant governmental interventions in the major industrial countries, particularly those of Havlik_Layout.indd 234 12.06.2008 09:26:06 235 the EU; therefore institutional factors limit the potential increase in agricultural trade specialization. From this point of view, agricultural specialization sets clear limits for the economic development of a country integrated in the world economy and makes a structural change inevitable. As the resource-rich countries in the CIS have been most successful in attracting FDI, and given the small absolute size of the Moldovan economy, it is not surprising that Moldova’s share in the annual total FDI infl ow in the CIS (even excluding Russia) since 1992 has not exceeded 2%; as of 1 January 2005, Moldova accounted for 1.7%, with accumulated FDI of USD 940 million (see Figure 2). From the point of view of FDI per capita, Moldova’s position in the CIS seems to be better: it ranks fi fth after Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. About 31.5% of all FDI in 1994-2005 was located in the utilities sector (the Moldovagaz project), followed by manufacturing (21.9%), retail and wholesale trade (19.2%), fi nancial services (9.9%) and transport (9.1%). Moldova has probably been one of the most attractive targets for Russian investments in the CIS (Figures 3 and 4). In mid-2004 it even outperformed all other countries according to the share of total Russian investments in the CIS. However, these outstanding results are probably due to statistical problems in accounting for Russian FDI in other CIS countries (for a detailed discussion see Vahtra, 2005; Crane, Peterson and Oliker, 2005; Libman, 2005, 2006, 2006a; Kheifets, 2005, 2006; Libman and Kheifets, 2006). Nevertheless, they give a certain indication of Moldova’s importance for the current Russian investment expansion abroad. Moldova is among the few post-Soviet countries where Russia is – even offi cially – the largest investor in the national economy, accounting for 20.6% of the FDI infl ow to the republic in 1994-2005, followed by Spain (11.3%), the USA (8.6%), the Netherlands (8.4%) and Germany (4.4%) (although the Netherlands and the USA could represent elements of offshore networks). Figure 2: Total FDI in Moldova 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 1992-1997 (annual average) 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 FDI inflow, USD mn As % of total FDI in the CIS (right scale) Source: UNCTAD World Investment Report 2004, World Investment Report 2005. Havlik_Layout.indd 235 12.06.2008 09:26:06 236 Figure 3: Cumulated Russian investments in Moldova 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 Jan 1, 2000 Jan 1, 2003 Jan 1, 2004 Jan 1, 2005 Oct 1, 2005 0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.1 0.12 0.14 0.16 0.18 Investments, USD mn As % of total investments in the CIS (right scale) Source: CIS Interstate Statistical Committee, 2005. Figure 4: Annual Russian investment infl ow in Moldova 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 9-M-2005 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Investments, USD mn As % of total investments in the CIS (right scale) Source: CIS Interstate Statistical Committee, 2005. After the period of huge capital infl ows in the early 2000s, due to large investment projects such as Moldovagaz (acquired in 1999), investment activity declined; however, in 2006 new large projects came under discussion as part of the gas price bargaining between Russia and Moldova. The most important assets are in the energy sector and include Moldovagaz, the gas distributing and exporting company co-owned by Gazprom (which increased its share in the company from 51% to 64% in 2006), and Moldova GRES, owned by the Russian power utilities monopoly RAO UES. The case of Moldova GRES is interesting insofar as the company is actually located in the Havlik_Layout.indd 236 12.06.2008 09:26:07 237 Transdniestrian republic and therefore is not controlled by the government. Until recently, Moldovagaz was co-owned by Transdniestria, Moldova and Gazprom, but the latter acquired Transdniestria’s share in 2006. Further assets in Moldova (including Transdniestria) are the following: LUKoil controls a network of fi lling stations in the country, and Sevkabel purchased Moldavkabel (cable production) in 2004 for USD 1.7 million. The Russian industrial holding Traktornye Zavody (Tractor Plants), currently merging with Agromashkholding, owns the Moldovan Trakom. Russian investors also control certain assets in other industries, including machine building (Bedery Machine Building Plant), technology (Saliut, Topaz) and metals (MMZ, owned by ITERA) – but here again, many assets are located in Transdniestria. An especially attractive sector has been the food industry, including beverages and wine (e.g. Russian companies such as W.J. Holding, Ochakovo and Moscow Wine Plant); Mikoian Moscow Meet Plant intended to establish a joint venture with the Moldovan company Bassarabia Nord; however, the plans did not materialize, similarly to the attempt of the Moscow MGTS to purchase Moldovtelekom. Nevertheless, the list of Russian assets is impressive. Foreign investors (both Russian and especially non-Russian) dominate the Moldovan banking sector, in which the share of foreign ownership was about 60% in 2003. This is comparable to the situation in the new EU member states, however, as Vahtra discusses, the effects of Russian and European investors regarding the transfer of best practices and the quality of institutions could be signifi cantly different. Foreign trade and trade specialization The dynamics of Moldova’s foreign trade is summarized in Tables 3 and 4. The general trend is hardly surprising: a signifi cant increase in the mid-1990s was followed by a decline in 1998-1999, when Moldova felt the impact of the Russian crisis and the general instability of the world economy; since 2000, after the restructuring, Moldovan exports and imports have been rising again. There is no clear pattern as to whether imports or exports grow faster. Growth of CIS trade was lower than growth of trade with third parties, refl ecting the continuing process of re-orientation on the world market. The CIS share in exports has declined by 10 percentage points since 1995, and in imports by 20 pp., similarly to other post-Soviet states. The EU-15 is by far the largest external trading partner, its share in non-CIS exports having increased from 44% in 1997 to 61% in 2004, and in imports from 51% to 58%. By contrast, the share of the CEE declined from 1997 to 2004, from 26% to 22% in exports and from 29% to 20% in imports. Nevertheless, the CEE countries and the EU-15 combined comprise about 80% of Moldova’s non-CIS exports and 70% of non-CIS imports. In 2004, Moldova’s total exports amounted to USD 985 million: USD 502 million in goods and services were exported to the CIS countries, USD 296 million to the EU and USD 105.7 million to CEE countries. Out of the total imports of USD 1768.5 million, the CIS accounted for USD 765 million, the EU for USD 581 million and CEE countries for USD 199 million. Havlik_Layout.indd 237 12.06.2008 09:26:07 238 Table 3: Annual growth/decline of Moldovan foreign trade (in percent) 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Export, CIS 15 16 12 -29 -41 9 25 1 21 19 10 Export, non-CIS 74 -10 6 -24 3 -7 14 32 25 32 12 Import, CIS 20 15 -7 -27 -45 7 31 20 45 29 19 Import, non-CIS 48 54 35 3 -41 50 7 14 29 24 38 Source: CIS Interstate Statistical Committee, 2006. Table 4: Geographical structure of Moldovan foreign trade (in percent) 1995 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Export CIS 63 58.6 61 54.4 53.6 51 50.5 Non-CIS 37 41.4 39 45.6 46.4 49 49.5 Import CIS 68 33.5 38.1 39.4 42.3 43.2 39.6 Non-CIS 32 66.5 61.9 60.6 57.7 56.8 60.4 Source: CIS Interstate Statistical Committee, 2006. A World Bank (2004) study based on the gravity approach demonstrates that Moldova’s share in intra-CIS trade is signifi cantly higher than could be expected relying on model predictions, and that the deviation for Moldova exceeds that of the majority of other post-Soviet states. On the other hand, Moldova’s share in EU trade is about 20 pp. lower than theoretically predicted. Naturally, it is important not to overestimate the assessment: as the foreign trade directions are determined by a common Hayekian evolutionary ‘trial and error’ process in a complex economy, and the gravity theory is only one of the approaches to foreign trade, it would be wrong to argue that the theoretical predictions should ever match the market results exactly. However, these considerations still refl ect potential ineffi ciencies in Moldovan foreign trade. Ever since achieving its independence, Moldova has been characterized by a negative trade balance; the trade defi cit increased from about 9% of GDP in 1994 to 29% of GDP in 2004 (see Figure 5). An important part of that defi cit probably resulted from net imports of mineral products. The trade defi cit occurred in trade with all major partners (CIS, EU-15, CEE) but its degree varied. In 2004, Moldovan coverage of CIS exports by CIS imports was 65.6%; for trade with the EU-15 that ratio was 51%, and for trade with CEE countries, 53%. However, starting in 1997 the export coverage in CIS trade had gone down by about 40 p.p., while in the case of EU and CEE trade it had increased by about 10 p.p. Therefore, imports in the CIS dropped more rapidly than exports from the region, creating a unilateral dependence (especially given the commodity structure, as discussed below). On the other hand, Moldovan goods seem to be gaining additional competitiveness on European markets. Surprisingly, Moldova recorded a surplus in trade with Russia for a long period, probably because of the pricing of gas and oil supplies (Gricenko, 2006). Havlik_Layout.indd 238 12.06.2008 09:26:07 239 Figure 5: Moldova: trade balance defi cit 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% 140% 160% 180% 200% 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 Trade balance deficit, % of GDP Import of mineral products as share of trade balance deficit Trade balance deficit, USD mn (right scale) Source: Moldovan Economic Trends database, 2006; Department of Statistics of Moldova, 2006. Agricultural products constitute a signifi cant part of Moldova’s exports, although their share went down in 2004 (see Figure 6). In the period 1998 to 2004, agriculture accounted for an average 60% of Moldovan export, with a maximum of 81% in April 1998 and a minimum of 39% in July 2004 (monthly data from Moldovan Economic Trends, 2006). From this point of view, Moldova is a monocultural economy with very low export diversifi cation, rendering it vulnerable to global price fl uctuations, weather conditions and protectionist measures of trading partners. On the other hand, Moldovan trade goods often enjoy a dominant position on the CIS markets, particularly in the fi eld of wine production. For instance, Moldova’s share in total Russian imports of wine was 62.5% in 1996 and 40.3% in 2003; in Ukraine it increased from 14.8% to more than 63% (World Bank, 2004).2 As for Moldova’s import structure, mineral products play the most important role, followed by machinery and equipment. However, imports are far less concentrated than exports. Mineral products account, on average, for less than 30% of total imports (see Figure 7). Intra-industry trade seems to be low, which is not unusual for emerging economies, especially with dominating agricultural monocultures (or export of natural resources) and low industrial potential. Moldovan imports in the 1990s were inelastic to the changes in income, refl ecting inelastic demand for energy resources (with partial debt accumulation) (Papaphilipou, 2001). 2 Nevertheless, in 2005 Moldova sold about 79% of its wine exports to Russia; Belarus ranked second with 7.7%, and Ukraine third with 5.4%. According to the specialized Internet source on Moldovan wine,, the share of Moldovan wine on the Russian wine market (including domestic production and imports) dropped from 66.53% in 2000 to 55.71% in 2005. Havlik_Layout.indd 239 12.06.2008 09:26:07 240 Figure 6: Exports of Moldova, USD million 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Live animals and animal products Vegetable products Food, beverages and tobacco Textiles Machines, electronic devices and equipment Rest Source: Department of Statistics of Moldova, 2006. Figure 7: Imports of Moldova, USD million 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Vegetable products Mineral products Chemical products Textiles and textile articles Machinery, electronic devices and equipment Rest Source: Department of Statistics of Moldova, 2006. Havlik_Layout.indd 240 12.06.2008 09:26:07 241 Table 5: RCA for Moldova and selected regions of the world 1994 1999 2004 EU Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials 0.00 0.00 0.00 Chemical products 0.12 0.24 0.10 Animal and vegetable oils 4.18 0.63 0.18 Machinery and transport 0.02 0.16 0.20 Manufactured goods 0.25 0.41 0.67 Beverages and tobacco 4.92 1.01 1.75 Food and live animals 2.45 8.25 5.28 Miscellaneous manufactured articles 0.77 9.78 12.78 Crude materials, inedible, except fuels 4.47 18.37 26.83 Rest of the CIS Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials - - 0.00 Chemical products - - 0.18 Manufactured goods - - 0.45 Machinery and transport - - 0.52 Miscellaneous manufactured articles - - 0.74 Crude materials, inedible, except fuels - - 1.07 Food and live animals - - 2.58 Animal and vegetable oils - - 21.67 Beverages and tobacco - - 53.50 Rest of the world Chemical products 0.11 0.32 0.19 Machinery and transport 0.16 0.17 0.28 Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials 0.26 0.00 0.32 Manufactured goods 0.44 0.34 0.51 Miscellaneous manufactured articles 1.61 1.22 0.57 Crude materials, inedible, except fuels 3.08 2.71 1.02 Animal and vegetable oils 8.33 1.24 4.67 Food and live animals 2.41 4.77 7.54 Beverages and tobacco 23.90 29.61 26.52 Source: own calculation based on COMTRADE database In order to analyse the trade specialization patterns of Moldova, we apply the traditional framework of the ‘revealed comparative advantage’ methodology, with the RCA indicator for product i being defi ned as: , where XiM denotes Moldovan exports of product i, Xiw denotes world (regional) exports of this product, XM denotes total exports of Moldova and Xw denotes total world (regional) exports. The RCA indicators are calculated on the basis of the one-digit SITC (Rev. 3) classifi cation.3 The results of the RCA for Moldova and the rest of the world are represented in Table 5. 3 This approach is used e.g. in Addison-Smyth (2005). Havlik_Layout.indd 241 12.06.2008 09:26:08 242 Moldova’s main comparative advantage is in beverages and tobacco; the RCA indicators for SITC 0 (food), 2 (crude materials), 3 (animal and vegetable oils) and 8 (miscellaneous manufactured goods) (for 1994 and 1999) also exceed one, indicating a relative comparative advantage. The changes over the decade appear to be insignifi cant or inconsistent: only for SITC 0 is it possible to argue that Moldova increased its comparative advantage over time, and for SITC 2 the comparative advantage went down. After 1999 Moldova lost its comparative advantage in SITC 8. In a similar way we calculate Moldova’s comparative advantages in intra-CIS trade and in trade of the potential region ‘EU + Moldova’. We defi ne ‘world trade’ in this case as the whole intra-regional trade excluding Moldova. Table 5 presents results of the calculation for 2004 (CIS) and 1994, 1999 and 2004 (EU). In the CIS, Moldova holds its major comparative advantages in beverages and tobacco, animal and vegetable oil, as well as food and crude materials excluding fuel – thus the RCA structure does not differ signifi cantly from what could be observed for Moldova and the rest of the world. Regarding trade in the ‘EU + Moldova’ region, Moldova’s major RCA are in SITC 2, followed by SITC 0 and 1; since 1994, Moldova’s RCA indicators have exceeded unity for SITC 8. By contrast, Moldova lost its comparative advantages in SITC 3. From this point of view, both the European and post-Soviet orientation of Moldova’s trade generally refl ects the same structure of comparative advantages. Natural resources and institutional development Post-Communist transition studies in the social sciences combine three interconnected elements: state building, democratic transformation and market reforms (the ‘triple transition’, Offe, 1991). Moldova’s results in these three dimensions are at least ambiguous. The variety of factors resulting in the current dismal economic performance could be grouped into three major elements: defi cit of (natural) resources, confl ict in Transdniestria, and low quality of institutions. Probably, this order also represents the importance of the problems; however, a clear statement is diffi cult because of numerous backward links. Indeed, poor resource endowment may even become a factor of economic progress, if it stimulates institutional reforms and productive entrepreneurship in Baumol’s (1990) sense instead of rent seeking and rent distribution in ‘resource curse’ countries. Separatism risks and instability could be offset by natural resources attractive for international investors: Azerbaijan, with the Nagorny Karabakh problem, is the most evident example in the CIS. Finally, the debate over institutions vs. resources (or institutions vs. geography) is neither empirically nor theoretically resolved: on the one hand, the defi cit of resources of different kinds could probably be offset by high quality in the social order and vice versa; on the other hand, the formation of institutions and the geographical environment are not necessarily completely independent from each other (see e.g. Rodrick, Subramanian and Trebbi, 2002; Sachs, 2003; Ahlfeld, Hemmer and Lorenz, 2005, as well as a review paper of Olsson, 2003). Moldova has all three problems: however, it is possible to argue that the relative quality of institutions in Moldova is not as bad as in many other post-Soviet countries but worse than Havlik_Layout.indd 242 12.06.2008 09:26:08 243 in Central and Eastern Europe, including Romania. From this point of view, the power dimension and the geographical dimension seem to be more important for negative structural shifts in the economy of Moldova than the institutional factor. The fi rst and the most evident factor affecting the economic development of Moldova is its extremely poor resource endowment. Actually, Moldova does not possess any signifi cant mineral resources; neither is it able to use its geographical position for rent extraction from the transport of Eurasian oil and gas in Western Europe, as do Belarus and Ukraine. The natural resources of the country are mostly connected with opportunities for agriculture. From this point of view, an agricultural orientation of the state was unavoidable, yet inherited from the Soviet past, since Moldovan Soviet Republic had a similar agricultural function in the USSR (it provided about 20% of the grapes and wine in the Soviet Union, 30% of tobacco and 10%-15% of fruits and vegetables). Moldova ranked fourth among all transition countries (and third in the CIS) in 1990 according to the share of agriculture in the labour force (after Albania, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) (Gylfason, 2000). The country heavily depends upon weather conditions, which can signifi cantly affect GDP and economic changes. The resource-rich post-Soviet countries were at least able to balance their insuffi cient institutional quality and high political risks against signifi cant advantages from their oil and gas exports and even the possibility of attracting FDI in this sector. Natural resources are not Moldova’s only ‘geographically given’ problem. Unlike Russia, Kazakhstan or Ukraine, Moldova is a relatively small country with limited market potential and labour resources. Naturally, this factor makes its markets less attractive for FDI and limits the opportunities for economies of scale. However, Moldova’s small size could also be considered both an advantage and a disadvantage. For example, the country does not need to solve various heterogeneity problems appearing in other larger transition countries, especially in Russia and in Ukraine; although it does have the Transdniestrian confl ict, it also has better opportunities of international integration. Small, open countries have better opportunities to mobilize the diverse losers from the rent-seeking activities of privileged groups (World Bank, 2002). In the case of Moldova, however, the small size of domestic markets was one of the decisive factors for agricultural specialization in foreign trade. The theoretical and empirical effects of agricultural specialization and the defi cit of natural resources discussed in the literature are ambiguous. On the one hand, Gylfason (2000), in his empirical paper, extends the ‘resource curse’ argumentation on agriculture, demonstrating that a large percentage of agriculture in GDP is also associated with rent seeking, policy failures, underdevelopment of education and Dutch disease. This may not apply to Moldova, whose agriculture has remained uncompetitive in the absolute majority of markets except for the CIS. The latter can hardly account for any degree of competitiveness, due to the rigid structures of the market and biased economic competition. For example, Savin (1999) demonstrates that the prices for goods imported to Russia from the CIS systematically exceed prices for analogous goods imported from the rest of the world; intra-regional trade signifi cantly exceeds the theoretical estimations according to the gravity model (Fidrmuc, Fidrmuc, 2001). This Havlik_Layout.indd 243 12.06.2008 09:26:08 244 stability of trade relations is probably attributable to sustainable intergovernmental intrapersonal networks and to governmental interventions. Therefore, agriculture does not generate rents and ‘windfall profi ts’, as, for example, Russian oil and gas fi elds do, so the redistribution effects and gains can be expected to be lower. Another, more sociological, problem is that agrarian societies are usually more conservative than industrial ones, and therefore less likely to actively participate in and support economic reforms (see e.g. Abylkhozhin, 2000). This statement is of a rather hypothetical nature, especially for Moldova, where a large share of the population participates in labour migration, mostly to the large cities of neighbouring countries. This argument is, therefore, probably unfounded, although it naturally requires empirical verifi cation. An absence of natural resources means not only an absence of opportunities to export, but also a high dependency on imports. In the early 1990s Moldova’s economy was signifi cantly less energy-intensive than that of Russia or Ukraine, but Moldova’s energy consumption per unit of GDP was still twice as high as in the OECD countries. Moldova imports virtually all energy it requires from Russia over the Ukrainian territory. The increasing prices of energy at least contributed to the economic downturn in the early 1990s (Ronnas and Orlova, 2000); Moldova is still highly sensible to the potential ‘gas wars’ and price increases, which seem to be an important part of Russian foreign economic policy now, due to the general trends of world energy markets as well as to the changing Russian political attitude towards the CIS countries. Moreover, during the 1990s the role of gas in energy consumption increased dramatically (probably because petroleum products had already become expensive in the early 1990s) and therefore Moldova’s dependence increased (see Caraganciu et al., 1997): gas supply is less mobile and more determined by the pipeline network. On the other hand, as mentioned above, there is no ‘resource curse’ creating stimuli for rent seeking and preventing institutional reforms. From this point of view, nations with low resource dependency (like Moldova) are more likely to succeed in economic transformation than resource-abundant countries. The ‘systemic vulnerability approach’ (Doner, Ritchie, Slater, 2005) explains ‘good governance’ in developing economies by applying three major factors: (1) a broad, powerful coalition; (2) external threat and (3) absence of natural resources. In the CIS, Armenia meets all three requirements and is an absolute leader from the point of view of institutional transformation. For Moldova, the third and partly the second (Transdniestria) factors are valid; the current Communist government hardly seems to be a broad coalition, as in Armenia. Thus, there are some reasons to expect relative success with regard to institutional economic and political transformation. Indeed, the quantitative indicators are surprisingly good, especially from the conventional point of view of the ‘poorest country of Europe’. According to the six dimensions of ‘public governance’, as estimated by the World Bank in 2004 (see Kaufmann, Kraay, Mastruzzi, 2005), Moldova ranks third in the CIS with regard to the control of corruption (after Armenia and Russia), has the best result from the point of view of the ‘political accountability’ of power, is fourth-best for political stability (after Havlik_Layout.indd 244 12.06.2008 09:26:08 245 Armenia, Ukraine and Belarus, none of which experienced an internal confl ict like the one between the Moldovan central government and Transdniestria) and second-best as regards the ‘rule of law’ (with better results only in Armenia). Pure economic indices (quality of regulation and effi ciency of governance, i.e. the design of the economic policy itself and its implementation) are also relatively good: here Moldova ranks fourth (after Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Armenia) and fi fth respectively (after Russia, Armenia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan). Moldova is third in the Heritage Foundation’s ranking of economic freedom for 2006 (after Armenia and Georgia). Friedrich Schneider’s assessment of shadow economies (2004) evaluates Moldova as the third-best country in the post-Soviet world (after Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Repu-blic). Moldova is the only CIS country that has managed to establish a relatively stable parliamentary democracy and it has the highest Freedom House rating in the region. It is also unique in the CIS in that it has been able to pass one of the critical tests for democracy in the post-authoritarian states by undergoing two peaceful power transitions from one president to another (cf. Furman, 2004; Makarenko, 2005). The last elections, although highly contested, were also accepted by many international observers as having been democratic. Of course this does not mean that the current political regime in Moldova meets all the requirements of a developed democratic state; currently the Communist president Voronin (in offi ce since 2001) has total control over the parliament and also dominates the media (see Piel, Schulze and Timmermann, 2005 for further discussion). Nevertheless, even the fact that it is possible for Moldova to have a Communist president and still maintain its democratic institutions shows that the country has made signifi cant democratic progress. The Communist government demonstrated a remarkable evolution in the 1990s (Furman, 2006). According to a study by Smithey and Ishiyama (2000), Moldova has the second-best rating in the CIS from the point of view of independence of the judicial system (once again, after Armenia). However, all these comparisons are relative; Moldova is far from achieving the standards of a democratic political system and a civilized market economy. It is still characterized by a high level of corruption, poor protection of property rights, bureaucratic interventions, and a partly hostile business environment, especially for small businesses. Although Moldova is the best of all post-Soviet countries according to the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index of 2005, it still ranks only 88 out of 158. And the relative success of Moldova according to the World Bank governance indices does not change the fact that the post-Soviet states (with the exception of Ukraine) do not earn more than 50 of 100 points on various scores of evaluation of their institutions. Moreover, although the share of shadow economy in Moldova is lower than in Russia or Georgia, it is still about 45%. The business environment in Moldova is still hostile to private businesses (Aculai, 2005). Radziwill and Petrushin (2004) demonstrate that the cultural factors, state capture and weak institutions in Moldova lead to what they describe as ‘political Dutch disease’, i.e. an ineffi cient institutional equilibrium even without natural resources. While the traditional mechanism is described as: Havlik_Layout.indd 245 12.06.2008 09:26:08 246 natural resources Z high rents Z struggle for control, corruption and barriers to competition, Moldova is characterized by an alternative mechanism with similar outcomes: vested interest and corruption Z barriers to competition Z high rents Z struggle for control, corruption and barriers to competition It is questionable whether the economic defi nition of ‘Dutch disease’ is appropriate in this situation, but there is an ineffi cient equilibrium and the same ‘economic disease’ suffered by all post-Soviet countries. What is more problematic is that Moldova has failed to achieve success in certain crucial economic reforms, e.g. in the agricultural sector and privatization, even as compared to some other post-Soviet transition economies. Agricultural reform, which could be expected to be central, did not manage to replace the old institutional organization of agriculture by a new one adapted to the market. Originally, the government decided to transform old Soviet farms and collective farms (sovkhos and kolkhoz) into joint stock companies and granted the enterprises 50% of the shares of about 400 processing companies. However, the practical implementation of reform from below (self-constitution of joint stock companies) failed, and the majority of relatively rich collective farms failed to achieve any success in the market economy. In 1998 the parliament replaced the collective farms by individual farms (i.e. kolkhozes were split), but the farmers were not supported by the necessary equipment, and the shares of land were relatively small. As the profi tability of farms was signifi cantly below the bank-lending rate, refi nancing also turned out to be an important problem for agriculture. Nevertheless, agricultural reform at least opened up an opportunity for market adaptation (Ceşuev, 2005; Liubareva et al., 2003). The agricultural sector has also been characterized by a signifi cant decline in productivity: from 1990 to 2000, land productivity and labour productivity dropped by 70% and 75% respectively (Radziwill, Petrushin, 2004). Moreover, the area under high-value crops continues to decline. A signifi cant institutional drawback is the slow development of the agricultural real estate market (Izman, 2003). Moldova is an example of incomplete and late privatization. Although the fi rst industrial privatization programmes were introduced in 1994 and 1996 and agricultural privatization was begun in 2001, the Communist government led by President Voronin curbed or delayed the privatization process and increasingly intervened in the economic processes. In the early 2000s the EU even stopped providing additional loans to the Moldovan economy because the government had not fulfi lled its privatization obligations for wine and tobacco production, power utilities and telecommunications. Generally speaking, Moldovan privatization has comprised three stages: from 1993 to 1996 about 2 thousand enterprises were privatized by the ‘patrimonial bonds’ distributed throughout the Moldovan population; privatization was then carried out via auctions, IPO and tenders until 2001; and since 2001 the country has seen ‘sporadic’ privatization without any clear objectives and goals. The major advantages in the pri- Havlik_Layout.indd 246 12.06.2008 09:26:08 247 vatization process were achieved in the second stage, when the largest companies were privatized (see Liubarova et al., 2003). The ‘sporadic’ privatization is often carried out by the government, which has been able to slow down the privatization process. The Department of Privatization has focused its activities on post-privatization monitoring and control. In 2005, 93% of all companies were privately owned, but the private sector generated only 57% of GDP. These two failures of reforms in agriculture and privatization are probably one of the reasons for the extremely high level of state capture in Moldova (according to the BEEPS survey of 1999, Moldova ranked second in the post-Soviet world after Kazakhstan; see Hellman, Jones, Kaufmann, Schankerman, 2000) and the predominance of the interventionist ‘rescue state’ model in state-business relations (Iwasaki, 2004), even despite the small size of the country, parliamentary democracy, and advancements in other reforms. An example of relatively successful institutional transformation is the Moldovan energy sector. In 1997 the government abandoned its monopoly and split the power utilities industry into 3 generating companies, 5 distribution networks and the stateowned transmission company. The distribution and generating companies were partly privatized (see Investment Guide for Southeast Europe 2004 for a detailed description). However, this transformation failed to reduce the energy intensity of the Moldovan economy, which still remains an important problem for its economic progress. It is probably possible to summarize that the relative success in institutional development in Moldova is, in absolute fi gures, still too low to compensate the resource defi cit. Moreover, it is weakened by state-building problems, which will be discussed in the next section. State-building and the economy of Transdniestria Moldova has been unable to regain control over its whole territory, but it is far from being a ‘failing state’: the governmental structure and political system are relatively stable, and other potential ethnic confl icts (like that in Gagauzia) were solved in a peaceful way. For this section, the Transdniestrian factor has two aspects of relevance: fi rst, it is important to understand how it infl uenced Moldova’s economic transformation, and second, economic trends in Transdniestria are part of general structural shifts in Moldova and must be analysed. First of all, as mentioned above, the major industrial potential in the republic (especially such fi elds as machine building, light industry, metals and power utilities) is concentrated in Transdniestria. Actually, the existence or absence of old industrial assets in a transformation economy is not necessarily a negative factor. Developed industry is mostly characterized by infl uential political groups, which often resist political reforms. If they are successful, the major mechanism of the market economy – Schumpeterian creative destruction – is restricted or even ‘switched off’. The experiences of Kazakhstan, where the infl uence of traditional lobbies was low, and of Ukraine, where industrial lobbies were able to capture politics starting in the early 1990s, illustrate this potential effect. Naturally, even the absence of powerful old lob- Havlik_Layout.indd 247 12.06.2008 09:26:08 248 bies cannot prevent the appearance of new infl uential groups or the predatory activity of the state, but at least a potential rigidity in institutional transformation is eliminated. On the other hand, old industries can provide a great variety of infrastructure factors (like qualifi ed labour) for new economic development. The very existence of a frozen confl ict in a relatively small country like Moldova naturally increases the risk for international investors. There are the further problems of Russian weapons and ammunition in Transdniestria and the presence of Russian troops, even though the latter have recently been reduced. Republican authorities systematically block the transportation of weapons and ammunition to Russia. The transport of ammunition is also technically very diffi cult (if possible at all) and could create a huge ecological contingency factor (All Jazkova, personal communication). Besides potential confl ict risks, other factors, such as the potential access of criminals or terrorists to the stores of weapons, or potential ecological problems, are also important. The Transdniestrian risk is often argued to be a factor preventing the development of more effi cient institutions in Moldova itself (see Radziwill, Petrushin, 2004). The paths of economic and political reforms in Transdniestria and in the rest of Moldova have been substantially different. Transdniestria is characterized by an immense concentration of economic and political power in the hands of the regional leadership (cf. International Crisis Group, 2004) and a lack of substantial economic reforms. The fi rst privatization programme was introduced in 2001. At least 20% of industrial enterprises and at least 50% of agricultural companies do not earn profi ts, thus increasing the dependence on the small number of leading businesses. The majority of assets are still owned by the government, which was reluctant to implement any institutional changes until the late 1990s. At the same time, the Transdniestrian political regime is more comparable to other post-Soviet states than the Moldovan parliamentary democracy. Transdniestria is dominated by the authoritarian political elite, which has remained in offi ce since Transdniestria declared its independence. The power–property ties between this elite and the largest Transdniestrian enterprises are signifi cant. The economy of Transdniestria is dominated by a small number of enterprises (12 to 15), which account for 70% of its GDP (as in Belarus or Tajikistan). For example, the aforementioned MMZ produced about 47% of the region’s industrial output in 2000 and accounted for 40% to 56% of exports in 2000-2002 and two thirds of the tax revenues. Since the late 1990s these enterprises have been increasingly attractive for Russian FDI, but Russia’s presence in the economy of the republic is generally very high and often invisible and not statistically recorded. Russia is also an important trade partner of Transdniestria (24.1% of exports and 24.2% of imports in 2004); about 12% of the Transdniestrian population also holds Russian citizenship.4 4 According to Deutsche Welle, in 2003 about 600,000 Moldovans held Romanian passports, accounting for about 18% of the Moldovan population without Transdniestria; the Romanian citizenship law of 1991 favoured the ‘restoration of citizenship’ by Moldovans, see Iordachi (2004). Havlik_Layout.indd 248 12.06.2008 09:26:08 249 Despite the lack of reforms, GDP per capita in the Transdniestrian Republic is not signifi cantly lower than in Moldova: in 2002 it accounted for 88% of the Moldovan GDP per capita, and in 2004 it was even slightly higher than in Moldova. Nevertheless, the GDP of the Transdniestrian Republic is highly volatile (Table 6) which may be explained by its export dependency and the infl uence of large enterprises. The problem of reliability of statistical data is also signifi cant. Not surprisingly, Transdniestria is heavily dependent upon foreign trade (which is typical for a relatively small country with insignifi cant internal demand but developed industry), see Table 6. Moreover, the Transdniestrian economy is energy-intensive and therefore dependent upon the Gazprom gas supply. This explains why Transdniestria has accumulated a huge debt to Gazprom, amounting to the equivalent of three annual GDPs of the republic. Technically the Moldovan-Russian Moldovagaz is responsible for gas supplies to both Moldova and Transdniestria. As far as the food sector is concerned, during its quasi-independence period Transdniestria turned into a net food importer: in 2000-2004 food exports covered less than 20% of food imports. Table 6: Selected economic indicators of Moldova and Transdniestria 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 GDP growth rates Moldova - 1.6 -6.5 -3.4 2.1 6.1 7.8 6.6 7.3 Transdniestria - 42.3 -34.6 -30.1 -20.9 11 -2.6 18.1 16.2 Foreign Trade as % of GDP Moldova 110.2 105.8 97.6 89.6 96.9 99.1 111.7 110.7 106.4 Transdniestria 161.1 153.8 279.4 240 409.7 359.4 276.9 324.5 309.7 Sources: CIS Interstate Statistical Committee, 2006, Gudim et al., 2003, Gudim, 2005 The general evolution of the Transdniestrian economy over the last fi fteen years included a number of stages. The review of the Center for Strategic Studies and Reforms (Gudim et al., 2003) identifi es fi ve of them: 1990-1991 (search for a ‘free economic zone’ and ‘regional self-fi nancing model’ within the general framework of the USSR), 1992 (military confl ict with reciprocal attempts to block communication lines), 1993-1995 (resuscitation of economic ties with CIS countries, especially Russia and Ukraine), 1996-1997 (partial legalization of foreign trade by access to Moldovan custom stamps and numerous FDI and building projects), and the period since 2001 (deterioration of the foreign trade environment due to the new customs procedures introduced by Moldova). In 2006 Ukraine imposed new regulations on Transdniestrian trade which are practically tantamount to a kind of economic blockade of the republic. The most important and generally addressed problem of Transdniestria – which spills over into Moldova – is the shadow economy. First of all, Transdniestria provides an excellent opportunity for smuggling and re-export deals, as well as other dubious schemes. Offi cially, Moldova’s share in the foreign economic transactions of Transd- Havlik_Layout.indd 249 12.06.2008 09:26:08 250 niestria does not exceed 10%, but there are good reasons to believe that this fi gure has been underestimated for several years. Besides this fact, the very nature of a ‘nonrecognized’ republic makes any economic transactions contradicting Moldovan law illicit, including privatization deals, a fi eld in which Russian enterprises have been very active. This factor naturally undermines any attempts at economic development and stabilization in the region – not only in Moldova, but also in Russia and especially in Ukraine. According to a study by the U.S. Institute of Peace (2004), the major fi nancial fl ows of Transdniestria are controlled by Sheriff, a company which is owned by the president of the breakaway republic, Igor Smirnov, and which has an annual turnover 5 times as large as the budget of Moldova and 25 times as large as that of Transdniestria (Ciobanu, 2004). A report by the Center of Strategic Studies and Reforms (2001) suggests that the economy of Transdniestria is not self-sustainable, but at least as viable as the economy of Moldova. However, the very fact of the unsuccessful state building in the region is an important driving force towards worsening the economic environment and unfavourable structural shifts. From this point of view, a peaceful resolution of the Transdniestrian confl ict becomes at least as important for the economic development of the country as success in institutional and structural reforms. Labour migration For Moldova, as for some other post-Soviet states (e.g. Kyrgyz Republic or Tajikistan), labour migration is currently one of the key factors of economic development. According to the Moldovan Department of Migration, in 1992-2003 labour emigration from Moldova accounted for 600,000 persons (including 105,000 in 1990-1996 and 500,000 in 1997-2003), or about 37% of the active population. In October 2002, according to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, about 800,000 Moldovan citizens were employed abroad; the UNFPA fund estimates the current number of migrants at one million (about 25% of the Moldovan population). The migration fl ows are mostly directed to the Russian Federation, where the majority of migrants work illegally (in 2004 the Russian economy employed about 4 or 5 million migrants from the CIS, although the ministry of internal affairs granted only 460,000 work permits). Members of one third of all Moldovan households work in Russia; the total number of migrants accounts for 200,000 to 300,000. The CIS countries in general account for about 500 thousand labour migrants from Moldova. The rest go to European countries such as Italy, Greece, Estonia, Portugal and Romania, as well as to Israel5. The migration factor has twofold signifi cance for the Moldovan economy. On the one hand, migration is naturally an important source of income for the national economy. The World Bank’s assessment of migrant transfers to Moldova indicates a signifi cant increase since the mid-1990s (see Figure 8), accounting for about 27.1% of 5 See: Labor Migration in Moldova. ru&ID=622, accessed on 1 May 2006. Havlik_Layout.indd 250 12.06.2008 09:26:08 251 GDP6.This is the highest in the post-Soviet space, and the second highest in the world (after Tonga, with 31.3%). However, since the majority of migrants work illegally, there are good reasons to assume that the offi cial fi gures are signifi cantly underestimated. According to Tiuriukanova (2005), an average migrant transfers about USD 110 to Moldova monthly; since the average stay is 20 months, the total transfers are USD 2200 per migrant and 1.5 years. Moreover, migration creates ethnic business networks, which are often crucial for transactions in an unstable and low-trust environment like the CIS. The existing informal ethnic business networks probably increase the competitiveness of Moldovan exports in the CIS signifi cantly (although there is no empirical evidence available to the author of this paper). Moreover, migration is strongly linked with the learning process: migrants returning from Western countries to Moldova often establish new small and medium-sized enterprises and therefore transfer ‘good practices’ to the Moldovan economy (Pyshkina, 2003). It is, of course, questionable whether migration to CIS countries can also be considered a source of ‘good practices’. Figure 8: Workers’ remittance, compensation of employees and migrant transfers to Moldova, USD million 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004e 2005e Source: Global Economic Prospects 2006 On the other hand, migration is naturally associated with brain drain (see e.g. Perchinskaia, 2004) and a reduction of the available internal workforce, which could be used to rebuild the Moldovan economy. Generally speaking, Moldova (like many other post-Soviet countries) suffers under the problems of a population decrease (partly because of a transition to new population reproduction patterns and partly because of increasing mortality rates) and an increasing proportion of voluntary withdrawal from the labour market in the form of economically inactive population (e.g. students) as a result of social adaptation to dismal labour market conditions. Naturally, emigration in the extent practised by Moldovans makes these problems more severe. For a small 6 The share of transfers in total exports is estimated at 44% (, 4 May 2006). Havlik_Layout.indd 251 12.06.2008 09:26:08 252 economy like that of Moldova, emigration also means a signifi cant decrease in internal demand, which consequently reduces the probability of attracting FDI. The migration also seems to reduce labour productivity, as the best workers leave the country (Pyshkina an Pyshkin, 2004). Finally, the predominance of illicit channels of migration also has a twofold negative effect: it leads to adverse social and personal consequences for the migrants (see e.g. Burdel’nyi, 2003), and also supports the ‘demand for bad institutions’ and complicates learning processes. Global and regional economic integration For a relatively small country like Moldova, the problems of regional integration are, of course, of crucial importance. In fact, since 1991 Moldova has participated in a number of integration projects with a variety of outcomes. In 2001 Moldova joined the WTO as the fi rst post-Soviet country. This fact is, fi rst of all, indicative of Moldova’s relative success with regard to economic reforms, as well as its economic openness and orientation towards integration into the global economy. Currently the potential of the WTO is probably not being fully tapped by Moldova, as agricultural exports, even under current WTO rule, are subject to protectionist measures. However, further reforms of the world trade order, as well as internal changes in Moldova, could make its WTO membership a powerful instrument for the fostering of economic growth. Moldova could also use its WTO membership as an instrument of bargaining power, e.g. against other post-Soviet countries seeking WTO accession (like Russia or Ukraine). Moldovan-Russian negotiations over Russia’s WTO accession were completed in March 2006; however, in the summer of 2006 Moldova insisted on reopening negotiations because of Russian restrictions on wine exports and because of problems related to the supply of gas, and in December 2005 Moldova declared its support for Ukraine’s accession. Nevertheless, in April 2006 Moldova refused to sign the agreement with Russia because of the Russian restrictions on the import of Moldovan wine and the indirect taxation of the gas supply. On the other hand, membership in the WTO reduces Moldova’s ability to participate in post- Soviet integration when it takes the form of customs unions (since large post-Soviet countries have still not entered the WTO, their unions cannot benefi t from the WTO rules for regional economic integration, and Moldova cannot introduce restrictions or preferential treatment in line with other partners from the NIS). Moldova is part of the Commonwealth of Independent States and therefore part of post-Soviet economic integration. However, its attitude to the Russian-led economic integration in the CIS has always been critical. Moldova does not participate in any subregional integration groups like the Eurasian Economic Community; on the contrary, it is an important member of the GUAM association (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova), which has often been described as an opponent to Russia in the post-Soviet space. Originally, GUAM (until recently GUUAM; Uzbekistan left the organization in 2005) was established with a focus on joint transportation and pipelines projects. After the Ukrainian revolution of 2004, GUAM was revived to Havlik_Layout.indd 252 12.06.2008 09:26:08 253 carry out closer economic integration; however, it has been less successful so far. Voronin’s Communist government originally intended to increase its level of participation in the post-Soviet projects (and even to enter the Russian-Belarus Union State), but after 2004 it became increasingly opposed to the eastern vector of the integration policies and strongly oriented to the EU integration vector. Despite this low effi ciency of top-down integration, Moldova is strongly interconnected with the CIS space via trade links, investments and labour migration. Formal participation in post-Soviet economic integration provided several advantages for Moldova. According to the Russian Customs Committee, in 1998-2002 Moldova received about 11% of all preferential treatment in trade from Russia, ranking second after Ukraine with 66% of all preferential treatment (Belarus is not included). The majority of privileges were granted for the wine trade. Until recently, membership in the CIS also provided access to cheap gas supplies from Russia through Ukraine. In this respect, the Moldovan policy was completely logical from the point of view of the exchange of market access rights (cf. Herrmann-Pillath, 2004). However, the CIS remains an ineffi cient integration group with numerous shortcomings, therefore restricting the expansion of Moldovan foreign trade: the World Bank (2004) identifi es an intransparent web of multilateral and bilateral agreements (spaghetti-bowl approach to FTA), frequent unilateral exclusions, lack of permanency of agreements and the ad hoc application of safeguard and antidumping measures as major problems for Moldovan trade in the CIS. Moreover, the changes of Russian policy towards the CIS have affected the position of Moldova: Russia is planning to increase the price of gas supply to Moldova (or at least is ready to exchange privileged access to Russian gas for attractive assets in the republic. In 2006 Russia imposed restrictions on the export of Moldovan wine, which seems to have had a signifi cant negative impact on the development of Moldova. An important factor for Moldova’s development is potentially the European Union. In November 1994, Moldova, as the fi rst post-Soviet country, signed the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, which became valid in 1998; Moldova was also the fi rst to join the Council of Europe in 1995. In 2003 the Concept of Integration of the Republic of Moldova into the European Union was approved. Since 1991, EU has provided about EUR 253 million in fi nancial support to Moldova in the form of different programmes (e.g. TACIS and CBC programmes, macroeconomic loans, EI- DHR etc.). Within the framework of the TACIS programme (EUR 154.6 million in 1991-2005) Moldova ranked fi rst among the post-Soviet countries (including Russia) in terms of total fi nancial aid for the whole post-Soviet period per capita. Up to now, Moldova has failed to gain from its geographical position in the proximity of the European Union. The fi rst and most straightforward explanation is that Moldova’s agricultural exports could not access the protected European agricultural markets. The World Bank (2004) study suggests that, while important, these restrictions are only part of the problem. The second issue has to do with internal drawbacks of the foreign trade regime and of the general institutional framework, which seem to reduce Moldova’s competitiveness on the European markets. There is also no sign that the geographical position of Moldova contributed to the more developed institutional iso- Havlik_Layout.indd 253 12.06.2008 09:26:08 254 morphism with the Union, excluding the democratization process (see e.g. Kyvelidis, 2000; Kopstein and Reilly, 2000; Emerson and Noutcheva, 2004, where this idea is discussed in greater detail7). The European Neighbourhood Policy could provide new opportunities for Moldova. The Action Plan under discussion provides additional opportunities of access to the European markets and of possible asymmetric trade privileges. It may also act as a trigger for further economic reforms and as an instrument supporting governmental discipline and commitment to improving the quality of institutions (as the perspective of EU membership did in the CEE). Nevertheless, the Transdniestria problem remains an important factor preventing the further development of Moldova-EU relations (cf. Gabanyi, 2004; Gudim, 2005a, Shelari, 2005). The European Union also supports Moldovan participation in the political and economic cooperation of Southeast Europe (SEE) (e.g. via free trade areas with the six countries of the Stability Pact), as well as plans to provide additional fi nancial support to foster economic reforms in Moldova. Moldova’s participation in SEE integration does not, however, appear to create a signifi cant positive infl uence on its economic development, mostly because of the low level of development of the SEE countries themselves (a problem which will be mentioned in the discussion of the Moldovan- Romanian FTA below). Finally, Moldova is part of less ambitious and advanced integration and cooperation structures such as the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) zone established in 1992. Although their impact is signifi cantly lower than that of the EU or the CIS, they are still worth mentioning. First of all, cooperation agreements like the BSEC establish an additional link between the EU and non-EU countries, thus supporting Moldova’s integration into the European economy. On the other hand, there is empirical evidence that membership in these associations has a signifi cant impact on foreign trade fl ows, even although they do not imply any large-scale changes in trade policy (Sayan, 1998). An important potential partner of Moldova is Romania. Economic relations between Moldova and Romania are institutionalized in the form of regular inter-ministerial conferences, Romania is among Moldova’s main trading partners, and a free trade agreement between these two countries exists. However, up to now, economic integration with this country has not been very successful, either. The reasons are twofold: On the one hand, Romania does not belong to the best-performing transition countries and therefore is probably unable to provide any impetus for Moldovan economic development. On the other hand, political problems of integration with Romania also remain signifi cant. In the early 1990s, the Moldovan government and population actively discussed the possibility of re-joining the Romanian state. The offi cial language of Moldova is called Romanian, and not Moldovan, 7 It is worth mentioning that Kopstein and Reilly attribute Moldova to the countries with relatively bad geographical positions; however, as compared with other CIS countries, Moldova is quite close to the West. Havlik_Layout.indd 254 12.06.2008 09:26:08 255 and history lessons in the schools are devoted to the history of the Romanian people, and not to the history of Moldova; any attempts to change this highly sensitive area result in signifi cant political confrontations (see Eimermacher and Bordiugov, 2003 for a detailed discussion). However, society remained split in this respect (the Transdniestrian secession is probably the best indicator for that), and therefore the plans for political integration with Romania were abandoned. The Romanian attitude to reunifi cation was also ambivalent. The political problems between the two countries seemed to increase in the fi rst period of the Communist administration. As the perspectives of Romania’s accession to the EU are clear, it does not seem to be reasonable to discuss its relations to Moldova without the general context of the European vector of Moldova’s external economic relations (for further discussion of this problem see e.g. Tomescu-Hatto, 2004). Moreover, the FTA with Romania will be scrapped after Romania joins the EU in 2007. Conclusion Despite its signifi cant differences from the large, resource-rich post-Soviet states such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, Moldova is also an example of ‘transformation failure’. Agricultural specialization, inherited from Soviet times, still dominates both the structure of the Moldovan economy and its export specialization. Unlike other post-Soviet states, the trend to primitivization in Moldova has been rather weak, mostly because the primary sector already dominated its economy at the starting point of transformation. Therefore Moldova’s growth remains volatile and dependent on its monocultural exports, supply of energy resources, and weather conditions, as well as the general limitations applicable to all agrarian societies. Moldova has demonstrated relatively strong progress in institutional reforms and performs better than the rest of the CIS. Nevertheless, the results have not been suffi cient to overcome the defi cit of natural resources and agricultural specialization, or to avoid the general problems of post-Soviet societies, such as weak protection of property rights, corruption, state capture and low trust. Moldova has achieved the only relatively stable parliamentary democracy in the post-Soviet world, partly because of the ‘democratization effect’ of proximity to the European Union, though it falls short of Western democratic standards. This seems to have had an ambiguous effect on the Moldovan economy: on the one hand, it reduces the threats of ineffi cient equilibrium, ‘institutional traps’ and reform deadlock, but on the other hand, a high number of veto players have contributed to the slow and contradictory nature of several reforms, especially privatization and the reform of the agricultural sector. Moreover, from the point of view of the ‘triple transformation’ thesis, Moldova’s great problem is the Transdniestrian region. The Transdniestrian confl ict led to de-industrialization by the simple separation of territory, created additional risks, and reduced incentives for the establishment of more effi cient institutions, as well as supporting the development of the shadow economy in the region. Finally, extremely high labour emigration has been a signifi cant factor in Moldova’s economic development. Havlik_Layout.indd 255 12.06.2008 09:26:08 256 Moldova remains highly integrated in the post-Soviet economic space, although the CIS does not provide an effi cient institutional basis for regional trade. It is also one of the countries where Russian investors play an important role (although many of their assets are located in Transdniestria). Changes in Russian policy regarding gas prices and restrictions for Moldovan wines on Russian markets can therefore have a signifi cant negative effect on its economy. On the other hand, integration with the European Union has not been very successful so far. The general structures of the comparative advantages of Moldova in EU and CIS trade are very similar. The reasons for the problematic development of EU trade are, on the one hand, EU restrictions on agricultural imports, and on the other hand, internal barriers for trade in Moldova and the low quality of its institutions. 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Das Buch präsentiert die wichtigsten Ergebnisse des internationalen Forschungsprojekts INDEUNIS, koordiniert vom Wiener Institut für Internationale Wirtschaftsvergleiche und finanziert aus dem 6. EU Rahmenprogramm. Neben einer Analyse der Reform- und Integrationserfahrungen der NMS (New EU Member States) und ausgewählter NIS (Newly Independent States) werden Schlussfolgerungen für die Wirtschaftspolitik gezogen. Der langsamere Strukturwandel in den NIS beruht weitgehend auf verzögerten Reformen, hauptsächlich aufgrund fehlender politischer Reformbereitschaft. Für die künftige Wirtschaftspolitik in den NIS gibt es folgende Optionen:

o Fortsetzung des Liberalisierungsprozesses mit weiteren institutionellen Reformen;

o Erhöhung der staatlichen Finanzierung der Infrastruktur;

o Umsetzung einer Industriepolitik zur Unterstützung von Prioritätssektoren;

o Anwendung von Zöllen und anderen Schutzmaßnahmen zur temporären Unterstützung bedrohter Branchen.

Zwei »einfache« wirtschaftspolitische Empfehlungen für die NIS sind:

o Dem Beispiel des Transformationsprozesses in den NMS zu folgen und den wirtschaftlichen Übergang abzuschließen;

o nach dem bestmöglichen externen Anker zu suchen (v.a. WTO da ein EU-Beitritt nicht realistisch ist).