The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
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 vigorously.