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The EEC Minister Veronika Nikishina: “Trade and economic interests should be focused on improving conditions of trade and investment cooperation, rather than increasing protectionism”

The EEC Minister Veronika Nikishina: “Trade and economic interests should be focused on improving conditions of trade and investment cooperation, rather than increasing protectionism”


The Eurasian integration became one of the key topics of the third East Economic Forum held on September 6-7 in Vladivostok (Russia). The role of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in the Greater Eurasia project, development of the Union trade policy and its importance to the business community in Russia was discussed.

"Joint efforts of the countries in the region to create an enabling environment for the development at the space of the Greater Eurasia to the maximum extent contribute to the unification of markets, to the support of the sources of growth that are so demanded today in the context of continued slowdown of the world economy and new trends of a possible turn to deglobalization," the Minister in charge of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), Veronika Nikishina, noted speaking at the panel discussion "Greater Eurasian partnership - how to extend the space of co-development directed to the future. “The Eurasian Economic Union plays a significant role in this process, is among the flagships, which promote an ideology of cooperation for common development.”

Participants discussed the role of the region in world integration processes, development of foreign economic relations of the EAEU countries and future trade and economic relations in the context of growing trend of deglobalization and fragmented regionalization.

Taking part in the panel discussion “Gates of Russia to Asia: the Far East in the integration initiatives in Asia-Pacific Region," Veronika Nikishina drew attention to the importance of coordinating bilateral and multilateral negotiating tracks of the EAEU countries, as well as the integration of the Union into the world trade system through a meaningful trade policy. The EEC Minister emphasised the role of the business community in the Far Eastern Region in the formation of the negotiating agenda for the agreements with the countries of the Asia Pacific Region and called for business to become more involved in this process: "We see that the regional interest in concluding trade agreements is obvious, geolocation of the Far East Region allows considering export as a key pillar of its economic development. It is no secret that the entire negotiating process should be driven by the interests of business. That's in theory. In practice, however, negotiators often face a lack of understanding by the business community of such interest and a delay of communication.”

The EEC Minister noted that over the past year, there were new trends related to changes in trade policy priorities of one of the main players in the Asia Pacific Region, the United States. American rhetoric more often uses the term "fair trade", which is linked to the possibility of changing the rules of trade regulation in the direction of protectionism. In connection with one of the most recent examples of such policies - the investigation started in April this year regarding imports of aluminium in the United States - Veronika Nikishina stated that the investigation "opened a Pandora's box in terms of the inviolability of the existing rules the World Trade Organization."

Following the discussion, the EEC Minister expressed the hope for the continuation of the integration agenda development in the region: "We would like to believe that trade and economic interests, in one way or another, will prevail, and trade relations both within the Greater Eurasia and in the interregional format will be directed to the formation and development of open economic spaces, which improve terms of trade, investment and economic cooperation, rather than to increasing protectionism.”

On the sidelines of the forum, bilateral meetings of Veronika Nikishina with the Minister of Trade of the Republic of Korea Kim Hyun-chong, and the Iranian Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Mehdi Sanai, were held. The EEC Minister also took part in the reception organized by the Indian delegation with the participation of the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Republic of India, Nirmala Sitharaman. At the meetings, the parties discussed the current status of trade and economic relations, including prospects and formats of the further development of cooperation.

According to Veronika Nikishina, with each of the countries, with which cooperation was discussed, a completely individual format of agreements is provided: from preferential agreements to implementation of the projects of joint interest.