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Viktor Khristenko, the Chairman of the EEC Board: feedback from business is the key to the success of Eurasian integration

Viktor Khristenko, the Chairman of the EEC Board: feedback from business is the key to the success of Eurasian integration

19.02.15

On February 18, 'Eurasian Economic Union: extending the markets for business', a forum organised by the Eurasian Economic Commission in association with the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia and American-Russian Business Council, took place.

The list of participants in the event included Viktor Khristenko, Chairman of the EEC Board, Valery Koreshkov, Member of the Board – Minister in charge of Technical Regulation, Nikolay Zaichenko, Head of Secretariat of the Member of the Board – Minister in charge of Industry and Agroindustrial Complex, representatives of the EEC Department for customs legislation and legal practice, the management of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia and the American-Russian Business Council, and also the representatives of Russian and American business community.

The forum participants discussed the issues of industrial and agricultural development in the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), as well as pressing questions of technical regulation, foreign trade activity, and customs law.

Viktor Khristenko, the Chairman of the EEC Board, highlighted the need for constant dialogue with the business community and the transparency of the Commission to such dialogue. The Chairman of the EEC Board stressed: 'The Belarus-Kazakhstan Russian Business Dialogue is an official partner of the Commission within the framework of the Advisory Council for EEC and Business Dialogue cooperation.' The business community was included in the discussion process of norms and rules across the entire agenda of the Commission, since feedback from the business side is the key to the success of the integration project, said Viktor Khristenko.

As he also underlined, the EAEU is an entirely economic union with no political vector, aimed at establishing a common market with a population of over 175 million people, expanding the competitive potential of the economies of the Member States, and accessing the foreign markets of third countries. According to Viktor Khristenko, 'the depth of economic integration of the Member States of the EAEU is important for the EEC, since this will affect the sustainability of the Eurasian project.'

The Chairman of the EEC Board talked about the EAEU's cooperation with third countries, in particular about creating a FTZ (free trade zone) between the EAEU and Vietnam, and also about negotiations with EFTA, India, Egypt, Israel and New Zealand. He also talked about the growing mutual interest in developing cooperation between the EAEU and Latin American countries.

In his presentation at the forum, Valery Koreshkov, the Member of the Board – Minister in charge of Technical Regulation of the EEC , gave a report on the main directions for developing technical regulation within the Eurasian Economic Union.

As was noted by Valery Koreshkov, the Treaty on the EAEU contains provisions determining the principal approaches in this sphere. Among the most important are the provisions to set forth in the technical regulations common mandatory requirements for products and related processes.

Today, 34 out of 35 of the approved technical regulations of the Union have come into effect. Regarding 15 of them, the transitional periods are over, including in the sphere of food products.

Work on preparing the technical regulations is proceeding according to the new plan. Valery Koreshkov reported on the high degree of completion of technical regulations on the safety of fish and fish products, alcohol products, and also drinking water packaged into containers. The technical regulations pertaining to poultry meat and the processed poultry products are being actively developed. The block of technical regulations regarding machinery and electrical technology will soon be supplemented with two more technical regulations addressing the issues of energy efficiency.

Furthermore, according to the development plan for technical regulations, five documents regarding FEC are scheduled to be designed in 2015: on liquefied hydrocarbon gases, coal and processed coal products, oil prepared for transportation and/or use, flammable natural gas prepared for transportation and/or use, and trunk lines for transportation of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons.

Valery Koreshkov stressed that the Treaty on the EAEU also provides for directions of further integration in the sphere of technical regulation - for which purpose three agreements will be developed in 2015:

- determining the approaches to harmonising national legislations addressing state control (supervision) in meeting the requirements of technical regulations.

- on common rules and procedures ensuring the safety and circulation of products not yet covered by the common technical regulations of the Union;

- procedures and terms of eliminating technical barriers with third countries.

For the purposes of implementing the agreed policy secured by the Treaty to ensure the uniformity of measures, the10 acts by the Board setting forth the common approaches for the Member States of the EAEU to hold works on ensuring the uniformity of measures are scheduled to be completed in 2015.

Valery Koreshkov also underlined the special role of the business community in the process of improving law of the Union in the sphere of technical regulation. The Minister mentioned in particular: 'We welcome a consolidated attitude of business, which is helpful for us in developing the crucial documents.' In this regard, Valery Koreshkov also paid attention to the mandatory procedure provided for by the Treaty on the EAEU to assess the regulatory impact of the draft Acts issued by the Commission, stressing that a special feature of such assessment of draft technical regulations of the Union and draft Lists of Standards related to the technical regulations of the Union is its implementation in compliance with the procedures determined in accordance with the procedures for the design, approval, amendment, and cancellation of the technical regulations of the Union approved by the Commission and lists of standards in parallel with public discussion.

Furthermore, Valery Koreshkov clarified that despite the lack of conceptual changes in approaches to checking by the customs authorities of the Member States of the EAEU, the presence of compliance assessment documents or information regarding such documents upon the entry of goods to the territory of the Union is regulated today by the existing entry procedure, the Commission is actively working with the Parties to improve information exchange between the authorised authorities of the Parties within the framework of developing the Integrated information system of the Union in order to reduce the time costs incurred by business entities while going through the customs procedures.

Among the major achievements of 2014 Valery Koreshkov mentioned the acceptance by the Member States of the EAEU of the Decisions on Establishment of Common Markets of Medicinal Products and Medical Goods. In December 2014, an Agreement on Common Principles and Rules of Circulation for Medicinal Products within the Union and an Agreement on Common Principles and Rules of Circulation for Medical Goods (Products of medical use and medical equipment) within the Union. But for common markets of medicines and medical goods to start their operation since January 1st, 2016, the Parties and EEC have yet to complete the large-scale work in 2015: of designing and adopting over 40 second-level documents. Today, the Working groups with leading specialists of the Member States are actively working on them.

Nikolay Zaichenko, the Head of Secretariat of the Member of the Board - Minister in charge of Industry and Agroindustrial Complex, in his report to the business community told about the main regulatory provisions of the Treaty on the EAEU that affect the development of industry and agriculture in EAEU countries.

He stressed that in the fields of industrial and agricultural policy, the super-national authorities of the EEC tackle the issues of providing industrial subsidies and state support of agriculture. Alongside this, at this stage the Commission in this area is limited by monitoring, analysis, and control over the Parties, meeting the provisions of the Treaty on the EAEU and preparing the annual reports on the work results. However, since January 1, 2017 the powers of the Commission will be extended and the EEC will be adopting the Decisions mandatory for execution by the Member States according to the results of voluntary approval of the planned and provided specific subsidies.

As Nikolay Zaichenko reported, these Decisions will address, among other things, making decisions on the acceptability or inadmissibility of specific subsidies, handling the investigation of this type of subsidy, and making decisions mandatory in their respect. The Commission will also be settling disputes in providing industrial subsidies and clarify issues regarding their application.

In addition, the Head of Secretariat turned his attention to other regulatory powers of the Commission directly affecting the operation of the real economy. These, as Nikolay Zaichenko noted, are the issues of customs, tariff, and technical regulation, competition, states purchases, natural monopolies, and service sectors.

Commenting on other EEC competences in industry and agriculture, Nikolay Zaichenko also reported on the Commission's work in determining the norms and legal acts in elaboration of the Treaty and the practical implementation of agreements between the Parties. In industry, this is projecting the main directions of cooperation in industry, the concept of creating the Eurasian engineering centre and other documents, further extension of the cooperation in various industries, creation of the Eurasian technology platforms and industrial clusters, and measures to design common approaches in export support and conditions for incorporating joint-ventures.

In the agricultural sector, in compliance with the Treaty on the EAEU as well as the Concept of agreed (coordinated) agro-industrial policy approved by the Heads of State, the main directions that the states agreed to take in their cooperation and integration development are defined. 'Here also belong forecasting, regulating the common agrarian market, forming the common requirements for production and circulation of products, as well as export development, scientific and innovative development, and integrated informational procurement of the agroindustrial complex', said Nikolay Zaichenko.