EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION - A NEW REALITY IN WORLD AFFAIRS (by Ambassador Yakovenko, for Russia Today)
Today President Vladimir Putin, Presidents of Kazakhstan and Belarus Nursultan Nazarbayev and Alexander Lukashenko singed the Agreement establishing the Eurasian Economic Union. It will come into force on the Customs Union territory on January 1, 2015. Work on the document began back in November 2011 at the first summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, when a declaration on Eurasian economic integration, a sort of “roadmap” for this integration project, was adopted.
The Agreement marks a major milestone in cooperation between our countries. It opens up broad prospects for economic development and cooperation and leads to a new level of interaction by creating a common space based on the principles of free movement of goods, services, capital and labor. Our states will pursue policy coordination in key sectors – energy, industry, agriculture, transport. In fact, the Agreement leads to the creation of the largest single market within Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with a huge potential of over 170 million people and enormous production, scientific and technological resources. The Union has immense natural resources, including energy. It accounts for 20 percent of the global natural gas reserves and 15 percent of oil reserves.
We are witnessing a creation of a new powerful and attractive economic center that operates on the basis of universal, transparent and clear principles, including the norms and principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is important that the transfer of certain powers to supranational bodies of the Union does absolutely no damage to the sovereignty of our countries.
Mutual benefits of the integration have been already witnessed in practice. Economic ties between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are expanding, structure of trade is improving, proportion of high-tech products in it increasing and our competitiveness in the world economy strengthening. Over the past three years, turnover within the Customs Union (CU) grew by almost 50 percent (it amounted to USD 66.2 billion in 2013). Belarus and Kazakhstan came third in the trade balance of the Russian Federation (after the EU and China). Integration processes played a huge role in these achievements.
Russia continues to work actively with her partners in order to ensure the increase of trade flows and investment and expansion of industrial and technological cooperation within the Union. Utmost attention is paid to improving business climate. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan intend to stimulate market competition, ensuring effectiveness of the protection of consumers’ and businesses’ interests.
The task is set to create a common financial market. By removing barriers to capital movements the members of the Union intend to diversify risks, improve the quality, availability and reliability of financial services. Gradual harmonization of monetary policy will also improve the stability of the financial systems of the Union and make national financial markets more predictable and better protected from currency fluctuations.
The members of the Union welcome further expansion. Armenia considers joining it soon. It has a potential to become a full-fledged participant shortly after the launch of the Union. There was also a discussion with Kyrgyzstan to initiate accession to the Union. The members of the Union have also agreed to intensify talks with Vietnam on a free trade area, to strengthen cooperation with China, including the exchange of customs information on goods and services, and to form expert groups to develop preferential trade regimes with Israel and India. The Union’s geography makes it possible to create transportation and logistic routes not only of regional, but also global significance and attract large-scale trade both from Europe and Asia.