The meeting was also attended by President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Acting President of Kyrgyzstan Talant Mamytov, President of Moldova Igor Dodon (head of EAEU observer state), President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev (head of EAEU candidate state), President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez (head of EAEU candidate state), Honorary Chairman of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council Nursultsn Nazarbayev, and Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Mikhail Myasnikovich.
The Republic of Belarus holds the chairmanship of the Eurasian Economic Union this year, and the Republic of Kazakhstan will take over the EAEU chairmanship in 2021.
A package of documents was adopted at the meeting, in particular, an agreement on the exchange of information on combatting the legalisation of proceeds from crime (money laundering) and financing of terrorism by transferring cash and (or) monetary instruments via the customs border of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
It was also decided to grant the Republic of Cuba and the Republic of Uzbekistan observer status at the EAEU.
Other documents include decisions on the strategic areas of Eurasian economic integration through to 2025, the main directions of the EAEU international activities in 2021, and the approaches to the development of trade and economic cooperation with its main partners in the mid-term perspective.
In addition, a decision was made to establish a free trade zone between the EAEU member states, on the one hand and the Islamic Republic of Iran, on the other, as well as a decision on the entry into force of an agreement on a free trade zone between the EAEU member states and the Republic of Serbia from October 25, 2019.
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Speech at Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lukashenko, friends,
First of all, I would like to join the words of gratitude that have been addressed today to the Belarusian leadership for their chairmanship of the Eurasian Economic Union in 2020.
Although we have been working in a challenging situation created by the coronavirus pandemic, we have nevertheless achieved a great deal, and integration processes continued to develop successfully within the EAEU framework.
Proof of this is a large package of decisions and agreements prepared for approval at today’s meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council. I have no doubt that their implementation will contribute to the further deepening of interaction in trade, investment, the economy as a whole, finance, industry, energy and all other spheres.
It has been pointed out that the five member states rapidly developed effective interaction in the fight against the coronavirus infection, and that the joint action plan, which was adopted in July to strengthen the EAEU countries’ healthcare systems and stop the spread of the infection, is being implemented in full.
Russia has supplied its EAEU partners with kits for over 900,000 COVID-19 tests and continues to supply them with medications, PPE and medical consumables.
It is very important, as you are all aware, that Russian professionals are in constant contact with their colleagues in the five member states, holding consultations and sharing their experience with them. Teams of Russian epidemiologists and mobile laboratories have been sent to the hardest-hit regions of EAEU countries.
We are now analysing the possibility of delivering the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to EAEU countries. Incidentally, a second Russian vaccine, EpiVacCorona, has completed registration, and a third vaccine is in the final stage of trials. Of course, we are interested in the five EAEU states taking part in the study and clinical trials of the Russian vaccine and in organising joint production.
Regrettably, the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on our countries’ economies and social spheres. We have noted a decline in gross domestic product (GDP) and industrial production. This is also affecting levels of employment and unemployment.
Therefore, all of us, all EAEU countries, in addition to taking care of our people’s health and lives, must also address other priorities, such as preventing the current economic downturn from becoming a drawn-out and long-term problem. This calls for closing our ranks even more and redoubling efforts to improve the situation, address economic recovery and development matters, and advance on the path of integration development more energetically.
We support the draft strategic guidelines for the development of Eurasian economic integration until 2025, which the governments of the five member states prepared to complete the development of a common EAEU market of goods, services, capital and workforce, as well as a common digital space. This is aimed at stimulating our countries’ economic growth and, ultimately, at increasing the well-being and quality of life for our people, which is essentially our main goal.
I would like to single out digitisation cooperation among the EAEU member states. This year, all of us saw for ourselves that it is highly important to use advanced information technology, given the current situation. They largely made it possible for government agencies and virtually all industries, education and healthcare to operate normally.
I would like to note that Russia was among the proponents of expanding cooperation in this area. We are satisfied to note that the Union’s digital agenda, passed at the 2017 summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Sochi, is being consistently implemented. The agenda calls on the five member states to conduct a coordinated policy in the area of Internet-based economic development, formulating common e-commerce regulations and common information exchange and protection standards.
The EAEU is already implementing major digital projects in the area of transport, industry and labour market.
The Eurasian Development Bank promotes digital initiatives. The Bank has instituted a special Fund for financing new promising projects in information integration. Russia has suggested one such project stipulating the creation of a mobile app that makes it possible to considerably simplify administrative formalities during movement between the Union’s countries.
Electronic technologies also help protect our common market, and therefore consumers, from pirated goods. We aim to reduce illegal sales and purchases, to improve the competitive environment for businesses, for our enterprises. The Union’s digital mechanisms for labelling goods, whose use was also initiated by Russia, help oversee the movement of goods all over the Union.
It would be useful to expand the scope of the agreement on labelling goods. Digital systems for labelling tobacco products, some pharmaceuticals, perfumes, footwear, photo equipment and tires will be introduced before the end of the year. From January 1, 2021, there are plans to start labelling light industry products and later, certain types of dairy products.
I would like to note that a number of foreign states are interested in working with the EAEU; we have talked about this.
Today, the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council will grant observer status to the Republic of Uzbekistan. I would like to greet our colleague, President of Uzbekistan. They will also decide to grant observer status to Cuba, and I would also like to greet the President of the Republic of Cuba. This is indeed an important milestone for strengthening the union’s ties with our natural and traditional partners.
The EAEU is implementing a cooperation agreement with major economic powers like China and India. The first round of talks on a free trade agreement with India will take place in the near future. Today, we will approve a decision on similar talks with Iran. We also support the idea of signing preferential agreements with Indonesia and Mongolia.
It should be noted that a Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretariat of the SCO and the Eurasian Economic Commission was signed on November 10 at the SCO Heads of State Council meeting that was chaired by Russia.
We see this as yet another step towards implementing our concept to set up a Greater Eurasian Partnership in security, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation. In this context, expanded cooperation with other countries and regional integration associations, of course, has great significance. First, we are talking about coordinating the EAEU’s activities with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In the long run, the steps I have mentioned will play a positive role in establishing a truly favourable atmosphere for partnership and cooperation on our common Eurasian continent.
In conclusion, I would like to wish our Kazakhstani friends, due to assume the presidency of the Eurasian Economic Union, every success next year. Colleagues, you can certainly count on our support and overall assistance.
I have no doubt that the presidency of Kazakhstan, that initiated the creation of our association, will be successful. I would like to once again recall the role of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of Kazakhstan, in this process, and I would like to thank him for promoting it so enthusiastically and effectively in the post-Soviet space. I know that Kazakhstan’s presidency will be successful.
Thank you for your attention.