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Tigran Sargsyan at SPIEF opening ceremony: “Our Union is of economic nature and it has genuinely fulfilled”

Tigran Sargsyan at SPIEF opening ceremony: “Our Union is of economic nature and it has genuinely fulfilled”


“The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is an economic association. I think that the first five years of our activities have convincingly proved the fallacy of our project criticism, that it is a political one. And this is evidenced by the fact”, – this statement was made by the Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Tigran Sargsyan at the opening ceremony of the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum held on June 6.
He recalled that the idea of the EAEU belonged to the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, who put forward an initiative at the Moscow University 25 years ago to create the Eurasian Economic Union, having objective arguments why it should be done. “These are both our common cultural past and common values and common economic interests. So the EAEU was created based on these principles and the principle of equitable participation”, - Tigran Sargsyan told.
The EAEU’s specific feature is the availability of a supranational institution – the Eurasian Economic Commission, which makes decisions binding on the entire Eurasian Union. At the same time, the difference between the EAEU and the European Union is that decisions are taken on a consensus basis. It means that if any of the participating countries is not comfortable with anything, it can impose a veto. “Our countries have never had such an instrument. Owing to this instrument, they have the possibility to really influence the economic policy of a great space of almost 200 million people”, - the Chairman of the EEC Board stressed.
The principle of equal representation is applied in the EAEU, i.e. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan have as many votes as Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. The Commission has two Ministers from each country. Each Member State has one vote in the EEC Council at the level of Vice Prime Ministers as well. “Thus, regardless of the gross domestic product, population, territory, we all have equal rights in our Union”, - the Head of the EEC Board concluded.
As Tigran Sargsyan noted, the assessment of the business community is a confirmation of the Union solid achievements. Some extensive work has been executed on the formation of four “freedoms” within a period not exceeding five years - free movement of goods, services, capital and labor in the EAEU territory. The Union is moving towards their implementation step by step. These are also benefits which the business community receives from the removal of mutual trade barriers, supplying goods and services throughout the EAEU with a population of about 200 million people. According to the progress reports on the integration of the Republic of Armenia and the Kyrgyz Republic into the EAEU, the volume of exports from these countries to the common market increased significantly – by more than 30% annually. This is a substantial contribution and stimulus for economic growth in these States.
Another fact demonstrating the Union’s success is the interest of international organizations and third countries in it. About 50 parties asked the EEC to establish a direct economic dialogue. First of all, we are talking about agreements on free trade areas. It is also an Agreement on trade and economic cooperation with China. The priorities for the formation of free trade areas (FTA) are defined. These are seven countries. The FTA agreement with Vietnam is already operational. An Agreement leading to the formation of a free trade area between the EAEU and Iran was signed. Nowadays, negotiations with Serbia are coming to an end, and negotiations with Singapore and Israel are being intensified. Moreover, India and Egypt are among the priority countries. The Union has formalized its interaction with two major integration associations – the ASEAN and the MERCOSUR. “The development of international cooperation proves that our Union is of economic nature and it has genuinely fulfilled”, - Tigran Sargsyan stressed.
Delivering his speech at the opening ceremony, the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres spoke about some barriers to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals until 2030. This is a tremendous slowdown in growth and therefore progress towards the Goals, trade decisions, conflicts related to technologies such as 5G Networks, artificial intelligence, resulting in market volatility and unpredictability.
“At the same time, we are witnessing climate change, it is an enormous threat to all of us and it limits our abilities to move towards our Goals. We see the impact of new technologies, the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, artificial intelligence, which will have a major impact on markets, especially labor markets. Jobs opportunities will be created and eliminated at the same time. We’re not ready for that. It’s required to reform the education system, because we should learn to master new knowledge, rather that learning things that will become unnecessary”, - Antonio Guterres reported.
Because of all these reasons, it is now more difficult to move towards the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, their implementation depends on the policy being conducted throughout the world, which had been bipolar, became multipolar and today it is also somewhat chaotic, summed up the UN Secretary-General.
First Deputy Head of the Government of the Russian Federation, Member of the EEC Council Anton Siluanov stressed that those countries that imposed restrictions and therefore hoped for preferences, received more disadvantages than advantages in the end. “If any restrictions are imposed on settlements or trade, then methods to get them around appear at once. It will be impossible to gain an advantage in the global economy by creating preferences for one country”, - the Vice Prime Minister said. As opposed to the current world situation, Russia is primed for openness and cooperation with those countries that want it, primarily with the EAEU countries, creating favorable conditions for trade, settlements and business development, he added.
President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon expressed the opinion that his country could become an example of balance in the near future. “The specific nature is that - we have an Agreement both with the European Union and the CIS countries. As for now, Moldova has a visa-free regime with Europe and at the same time a Free Trade Agreement with the CIS. We are the first country in the world to receive the observer status in the EurAsEC, – he reported. – Such harmony we are actively pursuing at all venues can lead to the fact that we’ll become a role model for everyone”.
In addition, Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia Ulziisaikhan Enkhtuvshin and the Member of the Politburo, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Head of the Economic Section of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen van Binh appeared before the opening ceremony and provided the vectors for the development of international cooperation of their countries.