The meeting was also attended by Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and Honorary Chairman of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council Nursultan Nazarbayev.
In addition to the heads of the EAEU member-states, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and President of Cuba Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez have also been invited as heads of EAEU observer states.
A series of documents were approved following the meeting. Among them is the Agreement on Holding Joint Compliance Audits regarding Import Customs Duty (Other Duties, Taxes and Similar Fees) Assignment and Distribution, and their Transfer to the Budget of Eurasian Economic Union Member States. Adopted also were the resolution On the Main Principles of the Macroeconomic Policy of Eurasian Economic Union Member States for 2021–2022; the directive On Measures of Economic Pressure Put by Third Countries on Eurasian Economic Union Member States; and the directive On the Cooperation of Eurasian Economic Union Member States in the Production of Medicinal Drugs and Pharmaceutical Substances for Medical Use.
In 2021, the Republic of Kazakhstan holds the chairmanship in the Eurasian Economic Union. Mikhail Myasnikovich has held the position of the Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board since 2019.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues,
Greetings to you all. I would like to say how much we appreciate the fact that the President of Cuba, Comrade Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez, has made it possible to join our online meeting even though it is only five in the morning in Havana.
We cannot put off this discussion on the current aspects of the development of Eurasian integration, and I am grateful to our Kazakhstani friends for organising this gathering. There are many questions that need to be answered, and this must be done at our level so that the decisions will be formalised.
It is logical that we are giving priority attention in our discussions to our joint efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and measures to deal with its socioeconomic consequences.
As for Russia, you are well aware that we have promptly created three very effective and safe vaccines. We will launch the production of the fourth vaccine soon, the Sputnik Light. The relevant Russian services are vaccinating people, and this job is proceeding quite actively.
The manufacturing of Sputnik V has been localised in Kazakhstan and Belarus, as our colleagues have already mentioned. Russia is the only country that is sharing its vaccine production technology. We are considering now the establishment of such production facilities both in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
In light of these circumstances, we consider it of utmost importance to pay special attention to cooperation in the field of drug safety. Incidentally, we have created our own medicine that is very effective against the coronavirus.
By the end of this year, EAEU experts are expected to have prepared an action plan to supply our countries with strategically important medicines for the treatment of not only the coronavirus but also other dangerous diseases. In fact, the idea is to organise in the short term the production of effective and affordable medicine in the EAEU in amounts necessary to meet the requirements of our national healthcare systems.
I would also like to mention the joint project launched to create the Travelling without COVID-19 digital platform together with the Eurasian Development Bank’s Fund for Digital Initiatives. I believe it was our Armenian colleagues who suggested this initiative. The goal of the project is to facilitate mutual travel by our citizens and to simplify the border crossing procedure with due regard for the sanitary norms and the current epidemiological situation.
I share the concern expressed by Mr Lukashenko about the current restrictions. Russia, for its part, is trying and will continue trying to improve the conditions for migrant workers from other countries as much as possible, but primarily for citizens of the EAEU member states. We will shortly be launching a Work Without Borders unified online system and mobile application for handling the paperwork necessary to receive employment online.
Of course, we also believe that the EAEU countries should redouble their efforts to coordinate their policies in the field of economic development and to deal with the current social problems, including those created by the pandemic.
Our integration mechanisms must be as effective as possible, promoting the growth of mutual trade and investment ties and industrial cooperation. Only in this way will we be able to improve our macroeconomic indicators and thus improve the living standards of our people.
I would like to point out that we support the main guidelines for the EAEU states’ macroeconomic policy for 2020–2021, which have been prepared for approval at this meeting. In our opinion, it is a substantive document and the implementation of the measures set out in it will not only promote economic stability in our countries, but will also move them towards a growth trajectory.
There is no doubt that we should prioritise the strengthening of our common market, as our colleagues have already mentioned today, removing the obstacles and restrictions that are hindering our trade in goods and services. We have been working towards this consistently and purposefully. Thanks to this, trade between the EAEU states has increased by 17 percent from January to March of this year, despite the problems engendered by the pandemic.
In the context of global market instability, we see increasing problems related to the dramatic fluctuations of prices of socially significant products, as our colleagues have already pointed out today. We are grateful to our colleagues for supporting Russia’s initiative for normalising the situation in this sphere. We have prepared some practical solutions. In particular, the Eurasian Commission has recently adopted context-specific decisions aimed at consolidating the EAEU countries’ price policies on the sugar market. We should act equally energetically with regard to other products as well, when and if necessary.
It would also be worthwhile to invigorate joint work on the problems of climate change and environmental protection. As we know, international environmental efforts are emerging as a driver of global technological transformation. We see all the EAEU countries displaying much interest in being able to develop and introduce “green” technologies and to implement their own innovative projects in this sphere.
But, of course, this theme must not be allowed to be used as yet another tool of some restrictions in the economy. For this reason, we suggest considering how to establish in the EAEU a bank of climatic data and digital initiatives related, among other things, to carbon footprint recording. All of us could use this bank – all companies in our countries, which are working on projects aimed to improve the environmental situation.
We are noting with satisfaction that the integration processes unfolding within the EAEU are capturing the attention of a number of foreign states: today, you also mentioned this. Our union’s external ties have been expanding and diversifying in a consistent manner. A flexible system of interaction with states, integration structures and international organisations has been developed and is being successfully used. This system makes it possible to maintain and promote trade and economic ties with partners on different courses and levels, given their inclination and readiness to establish integration cooperation based on mutual benefit and respect for each other.
We are in favour of continuing to increase the number of preferential agreements with the EAEU’s major trade partners. I would like to remind you that the EAEU has signed such documents with Vietnam, Serbia, Iran, and Singapore. We believe it is important to step up talks on similar documents with Israel and, as Mr Lukashenko has just suggested, with Egypt. We also support this. A negotiating process should be started as soon as possible with our major partner, India, and we ought to focus on whether it is feasible to sign free trade agreements with another big country, Indonesia, and with our neighbour Mongolia.
Along with you, we have repeatedly spoken about aligning the EAEU integration processes with China’s Belt and Road initiative. I agree with my colleagues: signing the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between the Eurasian Union and the PRC has become a step towards this. It is necessary, of course, to advance further. But this document alone has been implemented consistently and thus a reliable basis is being created for the practical realisation of the idea to form a greater Eurasian partnership in the security, economic and humanitarian areas.
On the whole, we are satisfied with how interaction is developing within the EAEU. The most important thing is that it is bringing real economic benefits felt by the populations of our countries. I have mentioned the fact that, despite all the hurdles, trade is growing, and this is a very good sign indicating that we have been moving in the right direction and that our efforts are yielding concrete results.
Thank you very much.