DUSHANBE, April 2, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- Russian has raised gas tariffs for Tajikistan again.

According to information posted on the Russian Customs Service’s website, by government’s decree the export duty on light oil for countries that are not members of the Customs Union rises from US$244.6 to US$283.9 beginning on April 1.

We will recall that on May 1, 2010, Russia introduced the export duty on light oil for Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan at the rate of 203.7 U.S. dollars per one ton and on June 1, the export duty was raised to 209.1 U.S. dollars.  On December 1, 2010, Russia raised the export duty on light oil to US$226.20.  On February 1, 2011, Russia raised the export duty on light oil to U$232.20 and on March 1, 2011, Russian tariffs on light oil exports rose 5.3 percent to US$250.00.

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan were exempted from paying Russian tariffs on light oil exports from 1995-2010.

When Russia cancelled Tajikistan''s tax exemption last May, Tajik Prime Minister Oqil Oqilov sent a letter to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin asking for the tax-free status to be restored.  Afterward, working groups from the two sides held several rounds of negotiations and the Tajik side has declared that the issue over tariffs was still under consideration by the Russian side.

In the meantime, Russia scrapped the export duty on light oil for Kyrgyzstan in early March.  In exchange for this, Kyrgyzstan exempted Russia from paying rental fee for its military base deployed in the Kyrgyz city of Kant.

According to the Ministry of energy and Industries (MoI), Tajikistan has imported 62,012 tons of oil products from Russia over the first two months of this year; Russia accounted for 78.6 percent of Tajikistan’s fuel imports over the report period and Russian company, Gazprom, dominates the Tajik fuel market.

Tajikistan now also purchases oil products from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Specialists from the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) say that following rise in Russian tariffs on gas exports, Tajikistan has begun conducting negotiations with other petrol exporting countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.  “Russia intends to raise tariffs on gas exports in the future as well, and therefore, we are forced to seek new partners for our fuel imports,” the MET experts noted.