President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,
In the two months that have passed since our previous meeting in Minsk, we have made progress on the path of deepening mutual integration.
The governments of our three states with the participation of the Eurasian Economic Commission have developed a draft of the institutional section of the Agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union. The document establishes the international legal status, organisational framework, goals and operating mechanisms of the Union that is to be set up as of January 1, 2015. We have fixed the basic principles of the Eurasian integration project. The key principle is that the activities of this organisation should fully meet the national interests of all its participants.
We are creating the Eurasian Union to strengthen our economies, to provide for their harmonious development and rapprochement, to create a multi-faceted process aimed at modernisation and enhancing competitive strength. In the final count, it is all directed at improving the well-being of our nations and the living standards in our countries.
Now, when the draft of the agreement’s first section is practically complete, we need to focus on the contents of its functional section, or the departmental section, as it is also referred to. This work is already underway.
By March 1, 2014, we should finalise the list of exemptions and limitations remaining within the framework of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, and set the dates for their elimination. This is a very important goal. Integration is most efficient when all industries are involved and cooperation is as deep as possible. Only in this case does the common economic system function smoothly, independently and with maximum efficiency.
We need to continue the convergence of regulatory norms in our economies. For this meeting experts have finalised draft resolutions on anti-monopoly legislation and on enhancing competition. This is yet another important step towards deepening integration between our states.
The Eurasian Economic Commission will play the main role in controlling compliance with competition standards on the common trans-border market, while our businesses will be able to invest and develop according to a single set of anti-monopoly rules.
Our three states are working to broaden mutually beneficial and – something I would like to stress – equal cooperation with other countries, primarily with our neighbours in the region.
For a number of objective economic reasons our project is attracting the interest of many of our CIS partners. As we all know, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan have both expressed their desire to join it and have made an impressive effort to achieve this goal. Today we will consider a roadmap of further measures for Armenia’s accession; a similar document regarding Kyrgyzstan is in the development phase.
We intend to continue giving these two nations every necessary support. However, we should at the same time maintain the natural balance of interests of the Customs Union member-states and the states aspiring to join this integration union.
I am confident that increasing the number of members in the Eurasian Union will benefit not only the participants themselves, but the region overall. Of course, as we have said many times, if they meet all the requirements of our organisation.
Given the unstable global situation, a single Eurasian market becomes one of the main sources of growth in the “Group of Three” economies. External demand is now less significant than demand within the Customs Union in providing work for our companies in a wide range of industries, in agriculture and services sector. And we know that each of our nations individually has always strived to develop domestic demand. Indeed, other global economies do the same, including our neighbours.
For Russia, the Customs Union – Belarus and Kazakhstan – represent the third most significant market in the world, after the EU and China. In the last few years – 2010 through 2012 – our turnover with Customs Union nations grew by 15 billion – in other words, nearly by a quarter – up to more than 58 billion. That is by 25%, as I said.
There is a clear positive effect for our partners as well. Belarus and Kazakhstan’s share in trade within the “Group of Three” has increased. An important trend has been the reduction in the role of primary resources in mutual trade from 40% to 33% since the Customs Union began operating. In other words, we are seeing an improvement in the structure of our trade, with primary commodities being replaced by technological products and goods with high added value.
All these are objective indicators. They do not leave any doubt that it is truly advantageous for us to deepen cooperation with one another. The economic union opens new opportunities for member states.
The success of the Eurasian Economic Union depends on us, on the coordinated efforts of our governments, ministries and departments. Russia is ready to closely cooperate with its partners in the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, as well as with states that wish to join this integration process.
Today, during a bilateral meeting with Mr Nazarbayev, we also discussed deepening our bilateral relations. We have done a great deal, also by creating the conditions within the framework of our integration association.
Colleagues, I sincerely welcome you to Moscow and I am confident that our meeting today will be productive and serve as yet another positive impetus for our joint work.