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SPIEF-2018: the first business dialogue in the EAEU-ASEAN format

SPIEF-2018: the first business dialogue in the EAEU-ASEAN format


The representatives of business and official circles, business associations of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered for the first time to discuss the prospects for cooperation on the venue of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum – 2018. The discussion was held on May 23 in the format of a business lunch “EAEU-ASEAN commercial and economic cooperation. The role of Russia.”

The event was organized by the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) and the Russia-ASEAN Business Council with the support of the Roscongress Foundation and the Russian-Singapore Business Council, and moderated by Tatyana Valovaya, Member of the Board in charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the EEC.

"The intensity of contacts with the ASEAN region is observed both on the track of cooperation of the EAEU with individual member countries of the Association and at the level of integration associations. Coordination of the framework Memorandum of Understanding between the EEC and ASEAN is at the final stage. It is good that even before the formalization of relations we are starting a dialogue about business", - the EEC Minister declared when opening the event.

The prospects for and the relevance of the development of the EAEU-ASEAN dialogue were emphasized in the speech by Hoang Quoc Vuong, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry of Vietnam – the country with which the EAEU has been operating Free Trade Zone for more than a year. The representative of the Vietnamese side separately focused on the effects already felt by both sides of the FTZ Agreement. "The trade turnover between Vietnam and the EAEU in 2017 grew by almost 40% and amounted to about 6 billion US dollars" - the Deputy Minister said, emphasizing the economies of the two countries. According to him, Vietnam has become the "entry point" for the business of the Union countries to the ASEAN capacious market, and for entrepreneurs from ASEAN countries - to the EAEU market.

The prospects of cooperation with the countries of South-East Asia were highly appreciated by representatives of business associations from the EAEU Member States. The Chairman of the Russia-ASEAN Business Council, Ivan Polyakov, noted the need for and the benefit of exchanging experience between the two integration associations, taking into account the largely coinciding potentials and rates of development of economies. Vladimir Padalko, Vice President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, talked about the work of Russia's bilateral councils with the ASEAN countries and the intention of the CCI of Russia to create a new, expanded format for cooperation. Vladimir Ulakhovich, the Chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also spoke in the same tone stressing that the multilateral track of cooperation between the EAEU and ASEAN will make it possible for the business circles of South-East Asia to be maximally informed of the potential of the unified market of the EAEU and the export opportunities of each of the countries of the Union. The executive director of the organization Stanislav Naumov presented the view of the unified business of the EAEU on the prospects for dialogue with ASEAN partners, as well as the main objectives and tasks of the EAEU Business Council.

ASEAN business circles were represented by Armi Lopez Garcia, Chairman of the Philippine-Russian Business Assembly, and Le Truong Son, Chairman of the Association of Vietnamese Businessmen in Russia. The initiative of Jukhee Hong, Director of the ASEAN Research Institute CIMB (CARI) and Director of operations of ASEAN Business Club on creating a permanent platform for communication between the business circles of the EAEU and ASEAN was discussed at the event. This idea was supported by many of the attendees.

A separate block of speakers was made up of representatives of business focused on developing ties with companies from the ASEAN region. They included the Deputy Head of the trading unit of Inter RAO PJSC, the Director General of Eastern Energy Company Mikhail Shashmurin, the Director General of Metalloinvest LLC Management Company Andrey Varichev, the Vice President of the Union of Timber Industry and Timber Exporters of Russia Andrey Frolov. Also, the comment was made by the Deputy Director General of the Autonomous Non-Commercial Organization Far East Investment and Export Agency Georgy Kolpachev.

"The event confirmed the great interest of the business of the EAEU countries and the ASEAN countries in cooperation. We saw that we had very good economic results in those areas where interaction had already been established, including with Vietnam and other ASEAN countries. When we sign the Memorandum of Cooperation between the EAEU and ASEAN – I hope that this will happen in the near future – we will have more than enough to fill our work will. Holding such events through the business community will definitely become one of its important areas. I very much hope that Russia-ASEAN Business Council, the Russian-Singapore Business Council and the Business Council of the EAEU will become our true partners", – Tatyana Valovaya summed up the discussion.

The EEC Minister also recalled that earlier at the SPIEF, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested thinking about creating a Greater Eurasian partnership with the participation of the Eurasian Economic Union, the states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN. She called this initiative an important prospect for the development of the Eurasian continent. "In this respect, building the dialogue between the EAEU and ASEAN and the business structures of our States is exactly what this Greater Eurasian partnership should start with", - the EEC Minister said with confidence.