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GDP: 2002, $1.6 billion; 2001, $1.5 billion.
GDP growth rate: 5.3%.
Inflation rate: 2.1%.
GDP per capita (2001 est): $307.
Unemployment rate (2000): 5.6%.
Natural resources: Abundant hydropower; significant deposits of gold and rare earth metals; locally exploitable coal, oil, and natural gas; other deposits of iron, bauxite, copper, tin, molybdenum, mercury, and antimony.
Agriculture: Products--tobacco, cotton, wheat, vegetables (potatoes, sugar beets, beans), fruits (apples, apricots, peaches, grapes), berries; sheep, goats, cattle; wool.
Industry: Types--small machinery (electric motors, transformers), light industry (cotton and wool processing, textiles, food processing, construction materials (cement, glass, slate), shoes, furniture, mining, energy.
Trade: Exports (National Statistics Agency, 2002 report)--$438.3 million; cotton, wool, meat, tobacco, gold, mercury, uranium, hydropower, machinery, shoes. Partners--Switzerland 19.4%, Russia 16.2%, Arab Emirates 13.5%, China 8.8%, U.S. 7.9%, Kazakhstan 7.8%. Imports--$532 million: oil and gas, machinery and equipment, foodstuffs. Partners--Kazakhstan 21.5%, Russia 19.5%, Uzbekistan 10.2%, China 10%, U.S. 8.2%, Germany 5%, Netherlands 2.8%.
External Debt (2002): $1.7 billion.
Economy of Kyrgyzstan
The Kyrgyz Republic's economy was severely affected by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting loss of its vast market. In 1990, some 98% of Kyrgyz exports went to other parts of the Soviet Union. Thus, the nation's economic performance in the early 1990s was worse than any other former Soviet republic except war-torn Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan. While economic performance has improved in the last few years, difficulties remain in securing adequate fiscal revenues and providing an adequate social safety net.
The principal sector of the economy in the Kyrgyz Republic is agriculture, which constitutes about 50% of GDP and more than one-third of employment. The Kyrgyz Republic's terrain is mountainous, which accommodates livestock raising, the largest agricultural activity. Main crops include cotton, tobacco, vegetables, and fruit. By the early 1990s, the private agricultural sector provided between one-third and one-half of some harvests. Wool, leather, and silk also are major commodities.
Agricultural processing is a key component of the industrial economy, as well as one of the most attractive sectors for foreign investment. The Kyrgyz Republic is rich in mineral resources but has negligible petroleum and natural gas reserves. Among its mineral reserves are substantial deposits of coal, gold, uranium, antimony, and other rare-earth metals. The government has actively encouraged foreign involvement in extracting and processing gold.
The Kyrgyz Republic's plentiful water resources and mountainous terrain enable it to produce and export large quantities of hydroelectric energy. However, it imports petroleum and gas. Metallurgy is an important industry, and the government hopes to attract foreign investment in this field.
The Kyrgyz Republic's principle exports are nonferrous metals and minerals, woolen goods and other agricultural products, electric energy, and certain engineering goods. Its leading trade partners are Germany, Russia, China, and neighboring Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It imports petroleum and natural gas, ferrous metals, chemicals, most machinery, wood and paper products, some foods, and some construction materials. In 2002, Kyrgyz exports to the United States totaled $3.7 million, and imports from the United States totaled $9.7 million, much of which was equipment, food products, and commodities provided by assistance programs. The Kyrgyz Republic exports antimony, mercury, rare-earth metals, and chemical products to the United States. It imports grain, medicine and medical equipment, vegetable oil, paper products, rice, machinery, agricultural equipment, and meat from the United States.
The government has reduced expenditures, ended most price subsidies, and introduced a value-added tax. Overall, the government appears committed to the transition to a market economy. Through economic stabilization and reform, the government seeks to establish a pattern of long-term consistent growth. Reforms led to the Kyrgyz Republic's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on December 20, 1998.