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Outcome of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council: programs aimed at forming common markets of gas, oil and petroleum products approved, Declaration on Further Development of Integration Processes within the EAEU signed

Outcome of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council: programs aimed at forming common markets of gas, oil and petroleum products approved, Declaration on Further Development of Integration Processes within the EAEU signed

12/7/2018
During the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (SEEC), held on December 6 in Saint Petersburg (Russia), a number of important decisions were adopted in the areas of integration, industrial cooperation, and energy.

The event was attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, and Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Tigran Sargsyan. The meeting was also attended by the President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon.

While opening the meeting, Chairman of the SEEC Vladimir Putin, summing up the outcomes of Russian chairmanship in the EAEU governing bodies in 2018, stressed that “cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union is progressing quite successfully and very dynamically, it contributes to a more complete realization of the economic potential of our States”.

A regulatory and institutional framework has been formed for launching a single digital space of the EAEU. The Union’s budget for 2019 provides substantial funds for the implementation of large digital projects.

The Russian side also proposed to include in the integration agenda some issues simplifying the procedure of citizens’ movement, and to establish closer cooperation in healthcare, tourism, and sports.

Summing up the meeting, Vladimir Putin stressed that the most important integration tasks, according to the general opinion, include increasing the efficiency of the intra-Union market, strengthening industrial cooperation, creating a single digital space, and ensuring a closer coordination of foreign exchange, financial, monetary and credit policies.

In his speech, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan stressed that Armenia is interested in further deepening the integration processes in the EAEU.

“The integration of our countries ultimately should serve to create a comfortable environment for doing business and to ensure full realization of human potential. The results of integration should be palpable for everyone. The integration will become irreversible if ordinary people are interested in it”, – stressed Nikol Pashinyan.

He added that Armenia is ready to take over the chairmanship of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko confirmed his country's readiness to give even greater momentum to the development of cooperation in the Eurasian Economic Union’s format.

“As we witness from practical experience, it is important not only to remove obstacles, but at the same time to create conditions, precluding the possibility of their recurrence, – said Alexander Lukashenko. – In this regard, I propose to give our Eurasian Economic Commission the authority to make decisions should one of participating States reintroduce already removed restrictions or extend the existing ones”.

The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev emphasized the need for the implementation of "anchor" projects in key sectors of the economy. In this regard, the Commission and the governments of the EAEU countries were recommended to determine the list of such projects.

“Back in 1994, I first spoke at the Moscow State University with the idea of creating this integration project, pointing out the principles of equality and voluntariness. At the time, I imagined a powerful economic union, which over time would be transformed into a big player on the international stage. Today, this idea has become a reality. Next year will mark 5 years since the Treaty on the EAEU was signed and 25 years since the idea of the Eurasian integration was first announced. I propose to hold a regular meeting in Astana in May next year, in conjunction with these two anniversaries,” – said the Kazakhstani leader.
The Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov noted that relations with the EAEU member countries always remain a priority, and expressed his country's readiness for a frank, confidential dialogue. “We consider it important to discuss the state of competition in cross-border markets. It is necessary to analyze the measures taken to curb violations of the general rules of competition, and to constantly shape a positive image of the Union as an effective and competitive international organization,” – noted Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

In turn, the Chairman of the EEC Board Tigran Sargsyan, speaking to reporters after the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, said that decisions were made on 15 issues that are aimed at further promotion and development of the integration project. One of the priority areas for the SEEC is the digital transformation of economies. “We have agreed to establish a Competence Center in Astana. Over time, such centers can be established in other EAEU countries. The Commission was instructed to elaborate the procedure for interaction with this center and mechanisms for digital projects’ implementation,” – noted Tigran Sargsyan.

He also talked about pilot projects, in particular on digital traceability of goods. “This will be a common system for all five countries of the Union, to which tax and customs services will have access, in order to ensure traceability of goods online,” – said Tigran Sargsyan.

The Chairman of the EEC Board stressed that the programs aimed at forming the Union’s common markets of gas, oil and petroleum products were approved by the SEEC members. “We will start implementing the measures that are laid down in the programs, but at the same time we will continue to work on a method for determining the price of gas transit. This is one of the controversial issues that we have to address for approval at the level of the Supreme Economic Council,” – noted Tigran Sargsyan.

In conclusion, the Chairman of the EEC Board announced that in 2019 the Union will celebrate the 5th anniversary of signing of the Treaty on the EAEU and the 25th anniversary of the idea of the Eurasian integration. Over this period, the Union has become a genuine integration association, and today it is one of the most advanced unions in the world. “Recently, we have signed a memorandum with ASEAN – this organization is also studying our experience and plans to follow the path of in-depth cooperation. This is a global trend, and in five years we have made a substantial progress in this direction,” – summarized Tigran Sargsyan.

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A progress report on the implementation of the EAEU Digital Agenda submitted to the Heads of States.

Together with the governments of the Union countries, the Commission is realizing the provisions and priorities of the Guidelines for the implementation of the Union’s Digital Agenda until 2025, which were approved by the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in October 2017. The Commission has received for review 40 initiatives from business circles and public authorities of the Member States. At the same time, most of those were proposed by the Union countries’ businesses. The mechanism for their development is being tested, while the ways to improve it have been identified, and the first-stage regulatory framework for the implementation of the digital agenda is being formed.

Pilot projects are being carried out under the initiative called “Functioning and Developing a Digital Traceability System (including Identification)”. Research activities are being carried out on several topics, in particular, such as “Introducing and Mutually Recognizing Electronic Accompanying Documents in the EAEU”, “Developing the Concept of an Ecosystem of Digital Transport Corridors of the Eurasian Economic Union”, “Developing the models for regulating cross-border data flow”. The expert sites are actively working on data flow regulation, “regulatory sandboxes,” digital trade, digital industrial cooperation, digital transport corridors, etc.

The analysis of the first initiatives has shown that the proposals need to be finalized, and be linked to the basic projects and the integrated information system of the Union, and a mechanism for the implementation of digital projects needs to be developed.

The Commission plans to intensify the joint work of the Member States’ competence centers, including within the framework of expert sites and projects. Interaction with businesses and consumers, primarily in the digital space, should become a direction inherently integrated into the project activities throughout the implementation of the digital agenda.

The Heads of States signed the Declaration on Further Deepening of Integration Processes in the EAEU.

The document implies extending the scope of the Treaty on the Union and including new tasks in the integration agenda. It is aimed at further deepening of integration processes within the Union in such key areas as ensuring maximum efficiency of the Union’s single market and realizing its opportunities for businesses and consumers, forming the “territory of innovations” and stimulating scientific, industrial and technological breakthroughs, unleashing the integration potential for people and improving their quality of life, shaping the Union as one of the most significant centers for the development of today’s world, which is open to the mutually beneficial and equal cooperation with foreign partners, and building up new interaction formats.

By adopting the declaration, Member States will provide encouragement to revitalize Eurasian economic integration, securing a promising vector for the Union’s development.

The mechanisms and measures for implementing the declaration will be included in the document defining the strategic directions for the Eurasian economic integration until 2025.

The leaders of the EAEU countries have approved a program to form a common market of gas, oil and petroleum products.

The adoption of the EAEU Common Gas Market Program is important for the Member States, since the measures envisaged in it are aimed at promoting competition, ensuring non-discriminatory access to gas transportation systems and switching to market pricing, which will help ensure the sustainable development of national economies.

A common stock exchange space, transparent exchange and over-the-counter price indicators will be formed on the EAEU common markets of oil and petroleum products, and non-discriminatory access of Member States’ economic entities to exchange trading in oil and petroleum products will be ensured, including a mechanism for fulfilling transactions (contracts) concluded within a single stock exchange space.

Forming the Union’s common markets of oil and petroleum products will lead to further economic development of the Member States, strengthened energy security and increased competitiveness of the Union countries’ goods on the global market of energy resources.

The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council approved the proposals on developing the Member States’ cooperation in the provision of space and geo-information services based on national sources of Earth remote sensing (ERS) data.

The first Eurasian cooperation project in the industrial sphere, jointly financed by the EAEU countries, is being prepared for launch. It has become possible thanks to the initiative of Russian, Kazakhstani and Belarusian enterprises participating in the Eurasian technological platform “Space and Geo-Information Technologies as Products of Global Competitiveness.”

The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council instructed the EAEU countries to develop the draft interstate program “Integrated System of the Eurasian Economic Union Member States on the Provision of Space and Geo-Information Services based on National Sources of Earth Remote Sensing Data” pursuant to the approved proposals and under the Eurasian technology platform “Space and Geo-Information Technologies as Products of Global Competitiveness”. In turn, the Eurasian Economic Commission shall assume the role of program coordinator. The document stipulating the integration of national space systems, the design and production of modern spacecraft through cooperation of interested Member States’ enterprises will be submitted to the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council. The governments of the participating countries will need to finance and implement activities within the interstate program as part of their national space programs.

The program will make it possible to take advantage of the EAEU Common Economic Space to unite the industrial, scientific, technical and marketing opportunities of the Union countries.

The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council approved the main directions of the EAEU’s international activities for 2019.

Three key activities have been outlined with the governments of foreign countries, regional associations, international organizations, business communities, and expert circles.

The first one involves developing already established mechanisms for cooperation under memorandums of cooperation, and ongoing negotiations on the conclusion of preferential and non-preferential trade agreements.

The second track includes interaction with parties interested in cooperation with the Union to create regulatory and institutional cooperation tools.

The third track of international activities is aimed at promoting reliable and up-to-date information on the Eurasian economic integration and forming a positive perception of the Union as an effective and competitive international organization of regional economic integration.

The priority partners in 2019 will remain the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the European Union, China, and countries which concluded or are negotiating to conclude a memorandum of cooperation, namely, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Cuba, Chile, Peru, Jordan, Morocco, the Faroe Islands, Moldova, countries which concluded or are negotiating to conclude a free trade area agreement, namely, Viet Nam, Singapore, Israel, Egypt, India, Serbia, including international organizations and regional economic associations such as the United Nations (UN) and its regional economic commissions, the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Andean Community, MERCOSUR, etc.

The Republic of Armenia is designated for 2019, on a rotational basis, as a State to chair the EAEU bodies: the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council and the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission. Armenia will succeed in this capacity the Russian Federation, which chaired the EAEU governing bodies this year.

The next meeting of the SEEC will be held in Astana (Republic of Kazakhstan) in May 2019.