President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, and President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev reviewed the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council’s first two years of work and examined the integration organisation’s further development. Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Tigran Sargsyan also participated in the meeting.
Following the meeting, the participants endorsed a number of draft documents.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
As host of today’s meeting, let me say a few words before giving the floor to Mr Nazarbayev, who heads the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council – Kazakhstan holds the presidency this year.
Before we turn to business, let me welcome you all to St Petersburg.
The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council is marking its second birthday this year, which offers us a good pretext for reviewing our work together over this time and exchanging views on the development prospects ahead for Eurasian integration.
Together, we have achieved some important results in our efforts to build the Eurasian Economic Union. We have established a large common market operating on approved rules that are based on the World Trade Organisation’s universally recognised principles. We have worked consistently to remove barriers to the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital. Since the Union began, the number of non-tariff barriers has decreased by more than 30 percent.
This year, a common market for medicines and medical goods began operation. This will help to bring down prices for socially important pharmaceutical goods and will enable us to better monitor quality and circulation of these goods and combat counterfeit products more effectively.
The Union has adopted the Concept for establishing a common market for gas, oil and petroleum products by 2025. We are developing universal rules for electricity trade and access to natural monopoly players’ services in this area.
We are improving our anti-monopoly rules and regulations. We continue work to establish a common financial market by 2025. The draft Concept for gradual liberalisation in this sector that the experts have approved provides for harmonising our countries’ current rules on credit, monetary, currency, banking and insurance operations.
We are working steadily to improve the Eurasian Economic Union’s legal base too. Much work has been put into preparing the new Customs Code. The Code contains a whole series of important legal innovations in line with the most advanced world practice. The Eurasian Commission for Customs Regulation gains substantial new powers and there are provisions for broad use of digital technology when carrying out customs formalities for goods at the Union’s external borders.
One of the key priorities for the Eurasian Economic Union’s activity is to establish a favourable business climate in order to fully develop our countries’ production and technological potential.
We must work more actively with our countries’ companies on developing industrial cooperation and be more energetic in our efforts to get small and medium business involved in the production and technology chains.
One of our paramount tasks in the immediate future is to develop a common digital space throughout the Eurasian Economic Union. I recently discussed this in Moscow with Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Tigran Sargsyan. I agree with him completely that the digital economy has undergone massive development over these last years, especially in countries such as China and the United States, and if the Eurasian Economic Union were to lag behind in the areas of global electronic trade and intersectoral digital platforms, this could have an impact on our competitiveness on foreign markets and on our Union’s domestic markets.
I will not go into the details, but let me just note that as far as external relations go, we are developing interesting and fruitful work with our potential partners. We have signed a free trade agreement with Vietnam, as you know. Israel, India, Iran, Singapore and Egypt have all expressed interest in similar relations. We are working with the People’s Republic of China. These are all matters that we will discuss today.
Once again, I want to wish you all a warm welcome to St Petersburg.
Thank you very much.