This paper analyzes developments in the structure of trade in the
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) during the transition
decade, and finds that it changed less than in other transition
economies. Trade openness of the CIS increased between 1993 and
1997, but has fallen to a lower-level plateau since then owing to
regional and country-specific factors. These include slower
progress in transition, geographic aspects, restrictions on trade,
governance and corruption problems, weak infrastructure, lack of
regional cooperation, and political conflicts. Regression results
show that trade openness of the CIS countries would likely increase
substantially if market-oriented reforms were pursued more
International Monetary Fund
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