Kyrgyzstan complains of Kazakhstan restricting border trade

GENEVA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan sent a communique to the World Trade Organization on Wednesday to highlight what it said was tougher treatment of Kyrgyz trucks and citizens trying to enter Kazakhstan, which had halved the flow of trade in recent days.

Kyrgyzstan did not launch a full trade dispute, but alerted the WTO’s dispute settlement body about Kazakhstan’s treatment of Kyrgyz cargoes, which it said violated the WTO rules in nine different ways.

The Kyrgyz statement said the unilateral Kazakh trade restrictions began on Oct. 10 without any notice and had sharply reduced trade across the border.

Kazakhstan was singling out Kyrgyz cargoes for inspection, even if they carried the TIR seal which serves as a customs guarantee under a U.N.-backed system, and was applying similar restrictions on Kyrgyz trucks arriving from Russia, it said.

“The current situation has extremely negative effects on the social and economic situation of the Kyrgyz Republic,” it said.

The number of vehicles crossing the two main border points, at Ak-Zhol and Ak-Tilek, had fallen from a daily average of 662, including 388 cargo vehicles, to 357, including 162 cargo units.

The number of Kyrgyz citizens crossing those border points had fallen from 8,176 per day to 3,446 per day.

As of Oct. 13, there were about 40 Kyrgyz cargo trucks blocked at the Mashtakovo border checkpoint on the Kazakh-Russian border, it said. (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Catherine Evans)