In August, Kyrgyzstan became the fifth member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), joining Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia. In the months leading up to the event, traders at the Dordoi bazaar located just outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, waited anxiously to see if changes to trade and tariff policies would jeopardize their businesses.
A surge of economic nationalism is making life uncomfortable for Chinese companies working in Kyrgyzstan. Faced with obstacles to trade and investment in the restive republic, Beijing is looking for ways to mitigate risk. Kyrgyzstan, Chinese officials know, is not the only place in Central Asia eager for business.
Ancient Persia was a heavily trafficked corridor on the Silk Road, the transcontinental trade route between China and the West that flourished centuries ago. But in Washington’s imagining of a 21st century version of the Silk Road, Iran seems set to be bypassed.