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Address by Kassym-Jomart Kemeluly Tokayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to the Heads of the Eurasian Economic Union Member States

Address by Kassym-Jomart Kemeluly Tokayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, to the Heads of the Eurasian Economic Union Member States

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1/18/2021

 

On January 1, 2021, the Republic of Kazakhstan assumed its chairmanship in the Eurasian Economic Union's governing bodies.

 Following the first five years of our association's functioning one can safely state that the Eurasian Economic Union has proved itself to be a successful and attractive integration project.

 At the same time, the world today is going through troubled times. The ongoing volatility of the global economy and financial markets is worsened by the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It has brought to light many problems in international relations, and caused to rethink the established models, principles and tools of economic interaction.

 In this context, we, as a Union, should focus on long-term priorities: maintaining the sustainability of our economic and social systems, increasing the citizens' well-being, and ensuring the progress of the EAEU and its Member States.

 Efficient and full-fledged implementation of the Strategic Directions for Developing the Eurasian Economic Integration until 2025 will definitely contribute to achieving these objectives.

 In the year of Kazakhstan's chairmanship, we propose to pay special attention to the following issues.

 First, a new impetus should be given to industrial cooperation.

To achieve this objective, we will need to establish joint ventures in the manufacturing industry, agricultural sector, and services.

 Besides, as implemented, the new joint infrastructure projects will ensure industrial connectivity and efficient economic interaction between our countries' economic entities.

 In the above spheres of integration interaction, we should make best use of the Eurasian Development Bank's potential.

 Establishing joint ventures and strengthening ties between the Member States' industries will also give added momentum to increasing mutual trade and removing barriers in our States' markets.

 Meeting these priorities, we need to give new meaning to the Main Directions for Industrial Cooperation within the EAEU.

 Taken together, the above measures will enable creating conditions for cooperation in manufacturing competitive industrial goods in the Union's common market and lead to a significant increase in non-primary exports of all participants of our association.

 Second, the elimination of the remaining barriers in mutual trade between our countries is the unconditional priority.

 Businesses rightly expect Governments and the Eurasian Economic Commission to take decisive actions.

 The Eurasian Economic Commission will have to actively and transparently remove existing trade barriers and prevent new ones from emerging, ensure the maximum reduction in exceptions and restrictions on the free movement of goods, services, capital, and labor.

 Monitoring and analysis should cover trade barriers at both the central, regional, and municipal levels. Primary efforts should be focused on the barriers that have the most negative impact on mutual trade.

 National import substitution programs, tasks of saturating the market with domestic products should be implemented in strict compliance with the Union's rules of law.

 Third, it is essential to comprehensively and fully use the potential of transboundary transport corridors and logistics hubs.

 Efficient cooperation in this area will play a crucial part in expanding trade and economic ties and establishing trust throughout the Eurasian continent.

 For this purpose, we propose to intensify activities on developing mutually beneficial joint projects that link the Eurasian integration association with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

 The Eurasian transit route should become the most attractive and competitive for international trade along the Europe-Asia trade and transport axis.

 We express our firm belief that when implemented, the project for coupling the Member States' national commodity distribution systems, which includes the creation of Eurasian wholesale and logistics centers, will help increase the overall efficiency of the EAEU transport corridors for both the participating countries' economic entities and foreign partners.

 We propose to make the best use of the potential of the Khorgos Hub located on the border between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People's Republic of China, as well as the capabilities of the emerging Central Asia International Center for Trade and Economic Cooperation on the border between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Uzbekistan to the benefit of all EAEU participants.

 Fourth, comprehensive digitalization should become the driving force for developing the EAEU countries' economies.

It is essential to dramatically accelerate introducing digital technologies in the industry, agriculture, and transport.

 As a matter of priority, we should expand the use of modern IT solutions in customs regulation, tax administration, veterinary supervision, and other realms that directly affect the freedom of movement of goods and services.

 It is important to focus on ensuring the successful operation of the EAEU Integrated Information System. This will enable us to better arrange our activities related to electronic data exchange.

 We believe that the purposeful, active, and equal involvement of our countries' IT communities in addressing pressing issues on the digital agenda is in the best interest of the Union.

 Fifth, it is necessary to consistently expand access to foreign markets, to more actively develop trade and economic relations with third countries and integration associations.

 In this light, we find it essential to intensify and systematize the activities for establishing a dialogue in the EAEU — EU format. Our cooperation with the European Commission and other EU bodies should be built on equal, mutually beneficial, and pragmatic terms.

 A similar systemic dialogue should be established with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

 We will have to develop an efficient strategy for interaction with a new trade association — the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which accounts for a third of world trade.

 The apparatus of the Eurasian Economic Commission must operate in a concerted and efficient manner to enable implementing these initiatives in full.

 In this respect, we proceed from the need to resolve the issue of selecting candidates for the Commission's staff based on the principles of meritocracy, taking into account their professional performance and qualities, without regard for the States' share participation in financing the EEC.

 During its chairmanship in the EAEU, the Republic of Kazakhstan intends to actively promote the designated agenda and counts on constructive support from the partners.

 We are convinced that achieving the set objectives will give a powerful impetus to the economic development of each State and strengthen the EAEU's potential.

 

 

Chairman

of the Supreme Eurasian

Economic Council 

 

K.K. Tokayev​