were 5% in both cases. A comparison of Russia, the largest transition economy, with other middle-income CIS countries is quite suggestive: while 51% of firms in Russia report insignificant pressure from imports, the figure is only 38% in the other middle- income CIS countries.
The pressure from foreign competition to restructure (Table IV.4) is also broadly similar in TEs and mature market economies, but there are significant differences across country groups. The strongest pressure – and higher than that in Germany and the cohesion countries – is perceived by managers in the EU8 members (III) and in SEE (IVa). By contrast, foreign competition is noticeably less of spur to restructuring in the CIS (IVb and V); these are countries that are physically more distant from the most important advanced market area (the EU), and where, since domestic productivity levels and product quality are low, domestic producers occupy niches are less exposed to international trade. The difference between the low income CIS countries and Vietnam, another low-income country but where firms report very strong pressure from foreign competitors, is probably simply location: Vietnam shares a border and major trading links with China.
In all regions, the surveyed firms stated pressure from domestic competitors and from customers is more important for restructuring. Tables IV.5 and IV.6 show that these perceived domestic pressures to restructure are similar in the pre-2001 EU members (I and II) and in TEs overall (III-V). The differences across regions are less pronounced than in perceive pressure from foreign competitors, but again, there is evidence that the competitive pressure to restructure is highest in the EU8 members (III) and lowest in the CIS countries (IVb-V); the SEE countries (IVa) are intermediate, with levels similar to those in the pre-2001 EU members. Unlike the pressure from foreign competitors, which changed little between 1999 and 2005, these domestic pressures have been increasing in all groups of TEs.
What we observe here can be interpreted as “convergence”, and the EU8 members are furthest along in this process, with the SEE and CIS countries following. Foreign