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Agreement signed on trade and economic cooperation between EAEU and PRC

Agreement signed on trade and economic cooperation between EAEU and PRC


Agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was signed on May 17 within the framework of the Astana Economic Forum.
The Agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the EAEU and the PRC was affixed with the signatures of the Chairman of the EEC Board Tigran Sargsyan, the Vice Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Tigran Avinyan, the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Vasily Matyushevsky, the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin, the Vice Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Zamirbek Askarov, the Deputy Head of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak and the international trade representative of the PRC at ministerial level Fu Ziying.
During the panel discussion “How to create the Single Economic Space of Eurasia?” its participants discussed effects of signing of the agreement, alternatives of subsequent development of interaction, in particular, in the context of integration between the EAEU and Chinese “One Belt – One Road” initiative as well as new cooperation projects combining technologies, raw materials and capitals of all the Union countries and China.
Tigran Sargsyan emphasized in his address that all calculations and arguments which the EAEU was guided by have proved correct. “Negotiation process demonstrated the relevance of all subjects we touched upon and interest of our countries in deepening and expanding interaction with the PRC” – he stated.
Commodity turnover between the EAEU countries and China in 2017 amounted to more than 100 bln US dollars. Besides, exports from the EAEU to the PRC raised by 40% last year. The Union countries find exports diversification to be of fundamental importance. Currently, it includes not only primary goods, but also mechanical engineering products.
The Chairman of the EEC Board mentioned that the current driving force in the world economy is Asia, and all the EAEU countries are interested in entering this market. “Increase in consumption in the PRC within the new concept of economic growth with a focus on domestic consumption means that our economic entities must be ready to ramp up exports to the People’s Republic of China and to the Asia region on the whole, - he thinks. – We must learn to live amid strong competition”.
The agreement opens new opportunities for economic entities of the Union countries. “Having identified our comparative advantages in this competitive environment we set up clear-cut interaction framework for them, though this is a non-preferential agreement. It seems to us, that new framework enshrined in this agreement may boost economic growth of our countries and help us take our strategic advantages”, - Tigran Sargsyan underlined. In his opinion, this framework gives a powerful impetus for implementation of specific megaprojects with the understanding thereupon having been reached at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in May this year.
The First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin placed a particular emphasis on cooperation with China in the sphere of transport infrastructure development. “Over the last years Kazakhstan has been actively investing and has conducted a broad-scale modernization of its transport infrastructure. It is also true for motorway construction. A part of Western Europe – Western China corridor was completed two years ago. Nowadays we are waiting for the Russian part to be completed, and so, this will form a single corridor which will connect Western China and Western Europe by transit through our countries”, - Askar Mamin told.
Another line of activity is development of railroad infrastructure. By 2020, Kazakhstan plans to receive 5 bln US dollars from transit through its territory. He noted that Kazakhstan is already working under this project within the EAEU with the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus and expressed his hope that Kyrgyzstan and Armenia will soon join the project.
“In the EAEU context it appears that the consistency of interaction of our countries and expansion of international and multi-format cooperation of the Union with third countries is the future we should strive for”, - the Vice Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Tigran Avinyan stated. At the same time, he voiced an opinion that integration in the region gets more and more global.  Europe may also join the process.
He also drew attention that Armenia has over many centuries been an element of the Silk Road. “As of this moment we also take part in the Silk Road Economic Belt project, in particular, construct motorways under the North-South project, and implement an “open skies” policy and a number of other projects”, - Tigran Avinyan reported.
The First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Vasily Matyushevsky emphasized that Belarus has traditionally been a follower of multi-level and multi-speed integration, economic interaction as well as integration of integrations between the EU, the EAEU and the PRC which may become a response to global challenges. The basis for such integration is a global infrastructure project. “Our task is to create an efficient transport and logistics corridor”, - he explained. “From our viewpoint, we may get the maximum effect, if we speak of establishment of digital transport and logistics corridors and, in the first turn, the West – East corridor”, - Vasily Matyushevsky reported.
The First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus told that Belarus within “One Belt – One Road” initiative jointly with the PRC has already implemented the project for the creation of Belarusian-Chinese industrial park which will serve as a global hub featuring digitalization elements. The composition of this park’s participants has also included a European hub.  Thus, the basis for integration of integrations is being created, Vasily Matyushevsky considers.
The Vice Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Zamirbek Askarov asserted that China was a significant investment partner of Kyrgyzstan having been successfully implementing projects in the country in the course of many years. More than 400 enterprises are already functioning in the Republic with Chinese participation, there is active cooperation in many industry branches including services sector, processing, mining industry, and agriculture. “I believe that the today’s conclusion of the agreement will contribute to the cooperation between our countries in all sectors”, - the Vice Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic summarized.
The Deputy Head of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak called the agreement signed between the Union and the PRC to be a historic one, because it ensures such interaction mechanisms in various areas of state regulation which enable maximum consideration of interests of the Union in its entirety and those of each its country in particular, as well as business interests, transparency and predictability of regulation at both national and supranational levels, and issues of technical, sanitary and phytosanitary regulation, customs cooperation have all been reflected in it. “I am absolutely sure that this agreement will become a reliable foundation for subsequent construction of the Greater Eurasian Partnership which cannot be built up without the PRC's assistance”, - Dmitry Kozak resumed.
The Deputy Head of the Russian Government underlined that China is the leading trade and economic partner for Russia. “No nation of the globe is supposed to have such a diversified coordination mechanism like the one we have with China”, - Dmitry Kozak reported.
The international trade representative of China Fu Ziying noted that five years ago Xi Jinping came up with the “One Belt – One Road” initiative, and today against the background of deglobalization and protectionism a multilateral agreement was signed. “Cooperation within the framework of “One Belt - One Road” and the EAEU projects is the key area of our interaction. Not only is this very important for facilitating trade procedures between our countries. I think that such signing plays a great role for promoting growth of our countries’ economies and enhancing living standards of our peoples”, - Fu Ziying highlighted.
The Chinese representative placed an emphasis on the priority of parties’ cooperation in the sphere of e-commerce. In his opinion, the digital economy era will create favourable conditions for future trade between China and the EAEU Members.
“The signed agreement names a whole range of sectors being important for both the EAEU countries and the PRC in the future. Cooperation must give an answer to the question concerning the center line of interaction of the EAEU and China in the long run, because infrastructure is created for almost as long as perpetuity”, - the moderator, the President of the EAEU Business Council Viktor Khristenko, summed up the discussion.