The Geographical Implications of the Creation of “Greater Eurasia”
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The tendency for the progressive establishment a broad integration association of a continental scale, “Greater Eurasia”, on the basis of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is highlighted. A common geographical feature of the countries involved in this partnership is revealed, i. e. the unique ultra–continental location of their remote landlocked territories at the world’s largest distance from economical sea routes and major world markets. An example of the countries of Central Asia, Russian Siberia and western regions of China shows the negative influence of the ultra–continentality factor manifesting itself primarily in increased transportation costs, which creates considerable barriers to economic growth and foreign trade activity. It is suggested that the accelerated creation of international transport corridors of both latitudinal and meridional orientation be regarded as a potential powerful means for closer economic consolidation and interdependent economic development of the remote inland territories of “Greater Eurasia”. The new development opportunities for Siberia opening up before Siberia with the establishment of “Greater Eurasia” are pointed out: access of the Siberian regions via the transport corridors to nearby inland markets, the creation of preconditions for a deeper onsite processing of Siberian raw materials by organizing final process stages and obtaining transportable products with high added value, and by overcoming the depressing effect of the ultra–continentality on economic growth through the construction of the transport corridor on the basis of the Trans–Siberian Railroad using advanced technological solutions.
Keywordsultra–continental zones transportation costs international transport corridors economic interaction Eurasian continental integration
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