The major Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) forum has brought together more than two thousand participants.
The 4th International Forum Eurasian Week programme kicked off with a plenary session devoted to the challenges Eurasia faces and the outlook for its strategic development. Kyrgyz Prime Minister Muhammedkalyi Abylgaziev spoke at the opening event, sharing his view that the EAEU was a unique interstate organization quickly turning into a key global economic player. A market with more than 180,000,000 inhabitants and covering an area of 20,000,000 square kilometres, it is becoming more attractive to the worlds biggest countries, who are seeking to establish partnerships with it.
«One example is sufficient: foreign trade with the Union continues to grow and as of 2018 had reached USD 491 billion, for a growth of 200 billion when compared to 2016. Our foreign trade turnover in Kyrgyzstan grew by USD 1.6 billion, which, for a compact economy like ours, is a very good indicator. And there is growth in the countries of our partners as well», Abylgaziev said.
Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tigran Sargsyan moderated the discussion. Speakers included President of the All-Russian Association of Fisheries Enterprises, Entrepreneurs, and Exporters (WARPE) German Zverev, Deputy CEO for Relations with Business Associations, Unions and Alliances at Severstal PJSC Pavel Isaev, CEO of Ecoproduct Asia LLC Dastan Omuraliev, Vice President for Government Relations and Corporate Affairs Eastern Europe at Baltika Aleksey Kedrin, and Vice President of Corporate Affairs at PepsiCo Sergey Glushkov among others. The discussion was also attended by the heads of governmental economic blocs and representatives of large business structures and industry associations from EAEU member countries.
Sargsyan noted that EAEU manufacturers face growing competition with other countries and interstate associations when accessing foreign markets along with a fundamentally new technological structure, which Union countries can become a part of only by working together.
«Weve been presented with an historic opportunity to create our own digital agenda, to understand what our advantages are, and to turn the Eurasian Union into a global player. No country can resolve this issue on its own; we wont be competitive. Major trans-national corporations already have an advantage, since they possess huge databases capable of locating the best and fastest solutions, and as a result they are able to provide their services at the lowest possible prices. At present we are implementing projects that will make it possible for us to participate in this battle», Sargsyan said.
Discussion participants spoke about the effectiveness of measures that had already been implemented and were aimed at developing economic ties within the Union, including the abolition of customs duties within the EAEU. Furthermore, the creation of a common services market, which as of this day existed in 49 sectors, had been especially successful.
«A single service market within the Eurasian Economic Union significantly increases the competitiveness of goods and services produced in member states. Its development will serve as an additional impetus for increasing economic activity and the investment attractiveness of participating countries. Integration into the EAEU has opened up many opportunities for our country in relation to the movement of goods, services, and labour. Participation in the Union has also forced us to work to raise production quality standards, to create a modern laboratory infrastructure, and to modernize checkpoints at external borders», Kyrgyz Vice Prime Minister Zhenish Razakov said.
At the same time, business communities within the EAEU are currently experiencing a real need to deepen integration processes and to continue work on the creation of a single economic space. Event participants discussed existing mechanisms for the creation of an environment of this kind and outlined a number of additional opportunities to increase the competitiveness of production within Union countries.
«As regards integration, we, as a business community, expect that additional mechanisms will be found to overcome barriers and more quickly respond to obstacles that arise at checkpoints, etc.. A five-way working group must be created and entrusted with the appropriate authority. We believe that it is very important to ensure the protection of fair competition in a shared market. We must not tolerate non-compliance with technical regulations and standards and must conduct a consistent and concerted fight against counterfeit goods. We are ready to participate in these activities not just as outside observers but in relation to ourselves. It is our hope that all of this will further integration», Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Yevgeniy Bolgert said.
Participants outlined the Union agenda on economic aspects for the immediate future. Priority areas of activity include the digitalization of logistics, the removal of bureaucratic barriers, and the expansion of the powers of supranational bodies.