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Speech at the expanded format meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council

April 14, 2017, Bishkek

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, Mr Chairman,

To begin with, I would like to extend our common welcome to President of Moldova Igor Dodon, who is attending the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council for the first time.

I must say that our cooperation within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has been growing successfully. By working together, we have moved forward in creating and strengthening our big common market with the same rules for all economic operators. We can say confidently that our common market has protected us like a safety net against the unfavourable situation on international markets, as it has been said today. Our integration institutes have helped reduce the negative external influence, giving the national economies an opportunity to adjust to new realities. This is a fact.

I want to say that mutual trade within the EAEU increased by 38 percent in January 2017 compared to the year before. As Mr Nazarbayev has said, crises come but they eventually go. Our mutual trade has increased by 38 percent, and our deliveries to other countries went up 37 percent.

The structure of our export-import transactions has improved dramatically, which is probably our main achievement. Also, the share of raw materials in our trade decreased last year, while the share of machinery, vehicles, equipment, foods and agricultural products increased.

In 2016, agricultural production within the EAEU increased by nearly 4 percent, and industrial production grew too. We expect to see positive dynamics in these spheres this year as well.

I would like to point out that a considerable share of this growth was reported on the Russian market, where the EAEU member states are becoming established more firmly. This benefits our partners within the EAEU and also Russian consumers. In 2016, Russia accounted for 62 percent of aggregate deliveries within the EAEU.

Kazakhstan is developing a new industry, automobile manufacturing, largely thanks to the EAEU market. I want to inform Mr Nazarbayev about our decision on his proposal to continue to expand our space cooperation based on the Baikonur Spaceport. We will adjust our plans regarding the Vostochny Space Launch Centre in the near future to be able to actively work together on the projects you have formulated. These include not only the use of Baikonur but also joint launches and the creation of new rocket and space technology.

Conditions are being created in Kyrgyzstan to revitalise the textile and garment industries. As you know, the export of Kyrgyz commodities to the EAEU countries increased by 38 percent in 2016. Armenia’s agricultural cooperation with Russia, for example, increased quite considerably, by 22 percent. Active efforts are being taken to strengthen cooperation with Belarus. Mutual dependence between some of our large companies equals 40 percent and more. Many Belarusian commodities are viewed in Russia as domestic goods and hence enjoy the same incentives under state procurement contracts in Russia as Russian commodities.

A lot of work has been done recently to improve the contractual and legal framework of the Union: we have agreed on fundamental documents such as the Customs Code, the Concept to Establish Common Gas, Oil and Petroleum Products markets, and a gradual liberalisation of financial markets. We have now reached mutually acceptable solutions in all these areas.

Priority attention should be paid to further work to improve the macroeconomic situation, increase investment in fixed assets, create more added value and develop non-commodity exports.

The Eurasian Development Bank, and the Eurasian Fund for Stabilisation and Development the bank manages, play an important role in resolving pressing issues of economic growth and ensuring our countries’ financial stability. The Bank also plays a significant role in the implementation of major investment initiatives.

About $4 billion have already been allocated for the realisation of these goals. The most recent example of such cooperation is the $110 million loan agreement to the Kyrgyz Republic to finance specific infrastructure projects in the country.

One of the most urgent tasks is the consistent elimination of barriers to the free movement of goods, labour, services and capital. We still have such barriers, unfortunately, but we agreed that we will gradually eliminate them. According to the Union Treaty, these processes will be systematically implemented until 2025.

The next plan aimed at strengthening the EAEU is the alignment of our respective government bodies’ information systems, primarily the customs services, to eventually create a system for monitoring the movement of goods across the territory of the Union. This would liberalise and improve problem solving in the transit of goods from third countries, including Ukraine. We have discussed this repeatedly and come to the conclusion that an electronic tracking system for the movement of goods would also help our partners who are outside the Union.

Effective control is impossible without mandatory digital registration of shipping documents, an advanced international practice. Taking into account the technical specifics of such projects, we need to complete the preparation of a relevant agreement as soon as possible.

As for the Union’s international activities, I must remind you that a free trade agreement with Vietnam is already in effect; negotiations are underway with China, Israel, Serbia, Egypt, India and Singapore; and similar work has been started with Iran, as we have already mentioned here. We also have active contacts with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN and other organisations.

The development of our Union’s external ties should be continued on a systematic and planned basis.

In conclusion, I would like to say and express the hope that the Eurasian Union will continue to grow stronger for the benefit of our nations. I think that we have every reason for such optimism.

Thank you.

April 14, 2017, Bishkek