The past year 2020 has made serious adjustments to the global development logic. The last year’s global economic crisis was caused by changing technological and world economic paradigms. The pandemic has only speeded up the negative processes. They are based on a secular stagnation in 2014-2019, long-term postponement of strategic decisions and unfavorable energy market conditions. According to the IMF, the decline in global GDP ranges within 3.5% in 2020.
The pandemic and the crisis have also exacerbated a number of other problems: the rise of protectionism and the crisis of the multilateral trading system, the unilateral rejection of long-term commitments and the intention to change from a cooperative agenda to separate development of the world's major economies.
"I believe that all of the above is a step backwards," Mikhail Myasnikovich stressed. "In the current situation, deepening regional integration and creating an updated seamless architecture of international economic relations thereupon is one of the most efficient ways of development".
Over the six-year period since its establishment, the EAEU has passed a significant stage in its development, has succeeded as an integral element of the Union countries’ economic model and has become part of the global economy’s architecture. The EAEU GDP increased by 21% in the first five years, reaching almost 2 tln dollars at year-end 2019. During the same period, the EAEU’s industrial production increased by 13.2%, including in the manufacturing industry by almost 15%. These indicators are higher than, for example, in the EU, where industrial production increased by 5.4%, including the manufacturing industry increased by 6.1%. The EAEU States’ mutual trade increased by 27.7%. In the World Bank's annual Doing Business 2020 ranking, the EAEU ranks 29th out of 190 economies raising its ranking by 12 positions, while Kazakhstan and Russia improved their positions by 13 and 16 points, respectively.
Nowadays, the EAEU has a functioning commodity market, significant progress has been made in forming a market for services (it operates in 53 sectors), a unified Customs Code has been adopted and free movement and social guarantees for workers are provided (for example, the Agreement on Pension Provision entered into force in January 2021). 49 common technical regulations have been adopted and more than 12,000 international standards are in force, so that about 85% of products have already been certified according to the common technical standards.
According to Mikhail Myasnikovich, early 2021 seems good. The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Union countries’ economies is gradually weakening: for example, Belarus increased its industrial output by 8.3% in January-February 2021 compared to January-February 2020 and the Union States’ mutual trade increased by 3.3% in January 2021. According to forecasts of international organizations, a cyclical global economic recovery is expected in 2021. For example, the GDP growth rate of the Russian Federation may be approximately 3.0% and it may increase up to 3.9% in 2022.
The Chairman of the EEC Board reported on coordinated actions taken to minimize the corona crisis at the Union level.
"This limited the virus spreading pace; we ensured the management of resources, medicines and medical devices and strived to create conditions for an efficient post-crisis recovery. Developing highly efficient vaccines against coronavirus by the Russian Federation in a timely manner, arranging their supplies and localizing their manufacture in the EAEU countries were of paramount importance here, which may serve as a positive example of integration cooperation for the sake of millions of people," Mikhail Myasnikovich considers.
The objective to determine vectors, key measures and new mechanisms required for developing integration and achieving the Union's goals has been set out in the Strategic Directions for Developing the Eurasian Economic Integration until 2025 approved by the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in December 2020. The Strategy-2025 unlocks the existing potential of the Treaty on the Union signed in 2014, and develops integration areas new for the EAEU.
"Despite the fact that we have an economic union, education, healthcare, tourism, sports and etc. have been included in the Strategy. We believe that there should be a certain social loyalty to those processes we implement within our Eurasian Economic Union," the Head of the Commission’s Board stressed. The Commission’s Council has recently approved a detailed action plan for implementing the Strategy.
According to Mikhail Myasnikovich, due to high competition in commodity markets after the coronavirus crisis, the EAEU countries should strengthen cooperation, complementing and supporting each other.
"We should address the issues of preferential lending to integration projects. At present we explore specific proposals for instruments to reduce (subsidize) interest rates for financing joint projects by the EAEU development institutions. It is required to create joint Eurasian corporations and companies," he stated.
Later in the day, Mikhail Myasnikovich and Yaroslav Kuzminov, Rector of the Higher School of Economics, signed a Cooperation Program between the EEC and the HSE. The document is designed for two years and contemplates, inert alia, joint implementation of educational programs at the Higher School of Economics and involving students, postgraduates and teaching staff in scientific support of the Eurasian economic integration, determination of further development vectors as well as organization of joint events.
The April International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development is held annually by the National Research University "Higher School of Economics". This venue is a meeting place for young and distinguished scientists, government officials, entrepreneurship and representatives of the expert community. The conference discusses current issues of social development and holds discussions on a wide range of issues. This year's event will be held on April 13-30.
The issues of improving interaction between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the business community as well as involving the Eurasian Economic Union’s business community in implementing the Strategy-2025 were discussed at the meeting of the Advisory Committee on Interaction between the EEC and the EAEU Business Council held on April 16 at the EEC’s headquarters in Moscow.
"In 2021, the Ministers of the Eurasian Economic Commission plan to hold 41 meetings with the business community in the EAEU countries. The business community should be the primary beneficiary of the Eurasian economic integration," Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Commission’s Board, stated opening the meeting.
Besides he informed that in 2020, the number of obstacles in the Union's register decreased to 59 for the first time since 2016 and 83% of all identified barriers were eliminated. 2 more barriers have already been eliminated in 2021.
The progress was made last year on the issue of access to state (municipal) procurement that had not been resolved for five years. The Commission, jointly with the Union countries, elaborated and approved the rules for determining the country of origin of certain types of goods for the public procurement purposes. The rules contemplate the maintenance by the Commission of the Eurasian register of the EAEU States’ industrial goods where the products will be included on the basis of expert reports issued by the Union countries’ national authorized authorities. The relevant information resource was launched on February 1, 2021.
"This work is a major step toward creating a full-fledged brand "EAEU goods”, Mikhail Myasnikovich believes.
As noted by Ablay Myrzakhmetov, Chairman of the Presidium of the EAEU Business Council, Chairman of the Board of the National "Atameken" Chamber of Entrepreneurs, the EAEU internal market still has systemic issues, primarily related to the transit of goods. Complex solutions are required to eliminate them.
"We propose to establish information interaction between the EEC and the EAEU Business Council, to audit already received applications as well as to create an electronic register of systemic business problems so that an entrepreneur can see the status of its application in the online mode," Ablay Myrzakhmetov noted.
In his speech, he also paid attention to the EEC’s active and constructive position on addressing issues of concern to entrepreneurs and finding mutually agreed solutions.
Sergei Glazyev, EEC Minister in charge of Integration and Macroeconomics, invited the business community to join the implementation of the Strategic Directions for Developing the Eurasian Economic Integration until 2025.
"The plan for implementing the Strategy-2025 includes more than 500 measures, half of which are scheduled to be implemented by 2022. We invite the EAEU Business Council to join this work. Primarily, we are interested in your proposals in three main areas: creating joint projects, eliminating obstacles and improving the business climate as well as improving the Union law, first of all in terms of improving the efficiency of customs and technical regulation," Sergei Glazyev stressed.
He invited the EAEU Business Council to make proposals for developing dialogue with the Union's foreign partners and implementing the EAEU international agenda.
Sergei Glazyev has informed that a survey of the Union States’ companies and enterprises is planned to determine promising areas of scientific and technical policy and priorities of scientific and technical development of the EAEU countries.
Alexander Shokhin, Member of the Presidium of the EAEU Business Council and President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, has noted that the Strategy-2025 accommodated many proposals submitted by the business community. Now the business community is unclear about advantages it can take of the integration, so the objective of the EEC and the Business Council is to demonstrate these cooperative advantages.
The meeting attendees were also presented with the Code of Good Practices for Interaction between Trade Networks and Manufacturers in the EAEU States elaborated by the Commission and draft international treaty on regulating transboundary data turnover in the EAEU. The digital initiative to create a "BRICK PAY" payment and settlement system and some aspects of forming the EAEU single market in the field of medicinal products were considered.
Mikhail Myasnikovich invited the EAEU countries’ entrepreneurs to take part in discussions that will be organized by the Commission as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The Advisory Council’s meeting was attended by the EEC Ministers, Members of the Presidium of the EAEU Business Council and representatives of the Union countries’ business community.
For reference:The Advisory Council for Interaction between the EEC and the EAEU Business Council ensures interaction and dialogue between the EEC and the EAEU Business Council. It comprises representatives of business communities, industrial associations, and civil society organizations of the Union countries.
"We welcome Tunisia's interest in the Eurasian economic integration processes in general as well as practical issues of supranational regulation in the EAEU, key priorities within the context of implementing the Strategic Directions for Developing the Eurasian Economic Integration until 2025," Goar Barseghyan said.
The Commission’s representative has stressed that Tunisia is an important trade and economic partner of the Eurasian Economic Union countries in the African continent. Along with that, she has reminded that the Russia-Africa Summit held in autumn 2019, during which aMemorandum of Understanding in the field of economic cooperation was signed between the EEC and the African Union, was the impetus for developing interaction between Tunisia and the EEC.
Goar Barseghyan has stressed that the Commission's dialogue with the African Union, which includes Tunisia, is designed to promote not only the development of cooperation between the two organizations in the areas determined by the Memorandum, but also to raise awareness of the African States about the Eurasian economic integration processes to increase the volume of trade and economic cooperation between the Eurasian and African States.
The Tunisian Ambassador expressed confidence in developing interaction with the Eurasian Economic Commission. The Republic of Tunisia is ready for a more active dialogue with representatives of the EAEU official and business circles, including within the events of joint Russian-Tunisian Intergovernmental Commission scheduled for autumn 2022.
For referenceTunisia is the fourth largest trade partner of the EAEU among the African Union countries (after Egypt, Algeria and Morocco) in terms of foreign trade turnover. At year-end 2020, the EAEU countries’ trade turnover with Tunisia amounted to 0.6 bln dollars. About 90% of the EAEU's trade with Tunisia is accounted for by Russia, 6.5% - by Belarus, 0.3% - by Armenia, 3.5% - by Kazakhstan and less than 0.1% is accounted for by the Kyrgyz Republic.
This was stated by Goar Barseghyan, Director of the Eurasian Economic Commission's Integration Development Department, at the regional conference of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) "Systems Analysis in Eurasia" held on April 13.
Goar Barseghyan demonstrated the need for objective and systematic analytical support for practical interaction of key international players with an example of cooperation between the European and Eurasian Economic Unions. According to her, it is the system analysis that enables concluding that relations and contacts at the expert level are maintained despite the lack of official dialogue between the EU and the EAEU. Profound cooperation between the business communities of the two associations will help intensify their further development.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly changed the vision of international economic relations. But it did not negate the importance of dialogue between key global players and highlighted the value of a systematic approach to their interaction," Goar Barseghyan noted.
The EEC representative reminded the conference attendees of the project "Challenges and Opportunities of Economic Integration within the Greater European and Eurasian Space" launched in 2013 by the IIASA jointly with the Eurasian Development Bank. It has become the main independent discussion and analytical platform for organizing contacts between experts from different countries as well as representatives of the European and Eurasian Economic Commissions.
The Director of the EEC Department expressed hope that the unique platform being provided by the Institute would continue to develop. Owing to its scientific nature, it can create new opportunities for dialogue between the Eurasian integration structures.
The International Institute
for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) was founded by the USA and the Soviet
Union in 1972. They were later joined by Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom,
China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, the Republic of Korea, Mexico,
the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, South Africa, Japan and a number of other
countries. The Institute is located in Austria. It conducts research on
environmental, economic, technological and social issues. About 300 permanent
scientists from different countries and a variety of temporary employees work
This proposal was voiced by representatives of commodity markets of the Eurasian Economic Union countries at a meeting on forming a common exchange market for the EAEU goods held by Sergei Glazyev, Minister in charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission on April 14 at the EEC’s headquarters in Moscow.
"The Strategic Directions for Developing the Eurasian Economic Integration until 2025 set a task to form a common exchange market for goods, including the market of derivative financial instruments the underlying asset of which is goods. The EAEU countries are leading manufacturers of oil, gas, grain, ferrous and non-ferrous metals and are quite ready for leadership in pricing for those goods they dominate in the global market," Sergei Glazyev stressed.
Representatives of sectoral Commission’s departments informed on the ongoing work towards forming the Union’s common exchange space. Representatives of the exchange community shared their experience and practice in developing exchange trading, noted the importance of cooperation within the EAEU on forming an organized market for goods with transparent and objective pricing and suggested developing exchange and over-the-counter price indicators which in the future can become new global benchmarks (price benchmarks) in exchange commodity trading.The meeting was attended by heads and representatives of competition authorities, commodity exchanges, manufacturers of exchange commodity of the EAEU Member States, representatives of the Association of CIS Exchanges as well as the Commodity Exchange of Uzbekistan being the Observer at the EAEU.