Taking part in the summit were President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev and Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Viktor Khristenko.
The meeting is dedicated to practical aspects of the launch of the Eurasian Economic Union and its bodies as of January 1, 2015.
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Address at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
We are holding the final session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council this year.
We have made good large-scale achievements in deepening our integration. We have managed to complete in a short time the drafting of the Agreement to set up the Eurasian Economic Union. We signed it at the Astana summit in May, and by our October meeting in Minsk the Agreement was ratified by the parliaments of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and will come into effect as of January 1, 2015.
Thus, the Eurasian Economic Union will become fully functional. As we have noted on numerous occasions, we will create a common market with over 170 million consumers and provide for the free movement of goods, services, capital and workforce. Business will be able to operate using transparent universal international trade regulations based on the principles of the World Trade Organisation.
Mutual benefit from participation in the integration project is obvious. The successful activity of the Customs Union, which we created in 2011, demonstrates it. Economic ties between the three states have grown in both quality and quantity. Trade has gone up by 50 percent. As for quality, the structure of mutual trade has improved due to an increased share of goods with high added value.
The launch of the Eurasian Union means transition to a more advanced level of integration. I am confident that this will give an impetus to the development of our countries’ economies. The Union will become a powerful growth centre for the entire region, trade and investment flow will grow, business ties will become stronger and the welfare of our citizens will improve.
The integration project we are implementing is unique not only in scale and in content, but also in spirit. It is based on principles of equality, trust, mutual respect and consideration for each other’s interests. At the same time, its participants retain their state sovereignty and national identity.
We are working to find mutually acceptable solutions and compromises on a variety of issues. In our decision-making, we are guided by the principle of consensus. Our countries have equal representation at the governing bodies and the Union Court.
All this makes Eurasian integration attractive for our neighbours and partners in the CIS. Two months ago in Minsk, we signed an Agreement for Armenia to join the Union. It has been ratified, and Armenia will become a full-fledged member of our Union as of January 2, 2015.
Today we will sign an agreement with Kyrgyzstan on joining the Eurasian Union. Our Kyrgyzstani friends, together with the Governments of the three states and the Eurasian Commission will make every effort to adapt national legislation to the requirements of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space. The majority of the corresponding roadmaps have been cleared. It is important to maintain the pace of our work and complete it together.
There is growing interest in cooperating with the Eurasian Union among countries in other regions. Thus, the drafting of a free trade agreement with Vietnam has entered its final stage.
We are working on similar agreements with Turkey, India and Israel. Only recently, as I have just told my colleagues here, during my trip to Uzbekistan we agreed with the Uzbekistani President to set up a working group to draft a free trade zone agreement between our Union and Uzbekistan.
Memorandums of understanding are being drafted with ASEAN and Mercosur states. I am certain that expanding ties with all countries and organisations both in the East and in the West on the basis of equality and mutual benefit meets the interests of our Union as well.
To sum up, I would like to stress that our integration is developing successfully and we can see tangible results. However, we should not be complacent. There are great new challenges ahead of us. We are to ensure the stable and efficient functioning of the Eurasian Union and continue strengthening its institutional basis. We will make a number of decisions in this area today, including an agreement on the Presidency procedure.
Among our priorities I see the need to make the Union more competitive and attractive for investors, to launch joint projects and create high-technology jobs in the oil and gas sector, in the metals and chemical industries, aviation, machine-building and the space industry.
We must remove the existing barriers that impede the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour. We are to implement plans to form as of 2016 a common market of pharmaceutical and medical products. Our decision regarding the turnover of medicines and medical goods will be a step in this direction.
We will also approve a list of services sectors where the common market will become functional on January 1, 2015. This will benefit construction workers, wholesale and retail traders and companies working in tourism. It is important that we do not drag our feet with the mutual approval of licences for these activities issued by our respective countries. This will make it possible for our companies to take full advantage of the benefits of integration right from the start.
I expect our meeting to be business-like and constructive, as always.
Thank you for your attention.