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Integration vs. Protectionism: The Role of Development Institutions in the Creation of a Common Economic Space in Greater Eurasia
7 June 2019
10:00—11:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Russia successfully implementing integration agenda

We have achieved great successes. We built the Customs Union very quickly. <...> From the Customs Union, the agenda for forming a single economic space and then the EAEU was quickly set — Igor Shuvalov, Chairman, State Development Corporation "VEB.RF".

We have very many projects developing with China. We have an understanding of how we will move forward with China in terms of economic development for at least the next 5 years. <...> With European partners, the relationship over the past few years has been very challenging. But again, there is a move in a positive direction. Today I met my partner, German minister Peter Altmaier, and for the first time in several years, we signed an intergovernmental cooperation agreement — Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Integration stimulates economic development

A large economic space is the basis for achieving national development goals. <…> What we are doing together is creating new, larger markets so that in Russia and in the EAEU, people can produce and sell as much as possible. This is the basis of the wealth of the ordinary citizen — Igor Shuvalov, Chairman, State Development Corporation "VEB.RF".

Protectionism cannot stop integration. It can weaken it a little, change the track, the pace. But it is impossible to stop integration — Igor Shuvalov, Chairman, State Development Corporation "VEB.RF".

Integration is a driver, an incentive for further development. Today, integration issues are more important than ever — Andreas Schaal, Director of Global Relations Secretariat, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) .

ISSUES
The rise of protectionism in the world

The picture that is now taking shape in the world is the formation of several national development platforms, which have begun a tough battle, not for a year, not for two, but for decades. This battle will have varying degrees of success and will have lulls in it – a peculiar kind of Hundred Years’ War — Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Feelings of nationalism are growing, and protectionism is on the rise. Now we are in a situation where 50% of exports from G20 countries are to some extent affected by the policy of sanctions. This is a very important issue that cannot be discounted — Andreas Schaal, Director of Global Relations Secretariat, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) .

We are seeing a clear tendency towards, if not isolationism, then selfishness in international relations. This applies to both politics and the economy — Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director, Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club; Chief Editor, Russia in Global Affairs Journal.

Sanctions hinder global economic development

There is an obvious politicization of the economy. <...> What are called ‘sanctions’, all these measures of economic influence and restriction are, strictly speaking, not sanctions, but acts of economic war. This is all intertwined with politics and interferes with normal development — Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director, Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club; Chief Editor, Russia in Global Affairs Journal.

The main difficulty is, of course, currency. The US dollar dominates, and therefore we use it. However, when sanctions are applied, then we are fundamentally talking about prohibitive measures, and therefore with Russia, we cannot pay in dollars – we pay in roubles. But if the US continues to use national currencies as an instrument of the sanctions regime, then all this will cause very serious damage to the American economy — Tadashi Maeda, Governor of the Board of Directors, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

SOLUTIONS
Integration policy on a mutually beneficial basis

Russia should build within itself those institutions, those solutions that will help it become independent and sovereign. But at the same time, to do this with the maximum coordination, the maximum cooperation, and the maximum number of partners: with China, with Europe, and, in some cases, with America — Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Today’s challenge, as we see from the experience of the EU, is building an effective management system, which, on the one hand, should make decisions efficiently and quickly. On the other hand, this management system should enjoy people’s trust, and build a dialogue with national governments — Tigran Sargsyan, Chairman of the Board, Eurasian Economic Commission.

We understand that we are obliged to act innovatively. We need to understand how to develop business in light of changing circumstances — Kudnapur Vaman Kamath, President of the New Development Bank (NDB) .

Removing barriers to the development of economic relations

The agenda of integration and development of Russia is based on the fact that there should be a certain level of freedom, and that this level should be increased constantly. Without trade, without one person earning anything, while others get the chance to earn, there will be no prosperity. You cannot build prosperity on limitations — Igor Shuvalov, Chairman, State Development Corporation "VEB.RF".

It is important for us to focus on solving the problem of protectionism, to address issues related to integration, including supply chains, and, of course, it is important to solve the problems of regional integration in Eurasia and Europe. It is vital to create and develop infrastructure, including transport. <...> The challenge that we face is to ensure connectedness — Andreas Schaal, Director of Global Relations Secretariat, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) .

We need to make sure that what we do contributes to the establishment of open trade and interaction between countries. We must start to open the curtains that exist between our sectors, including in trade — Andreas Schaal, Director of Global Relations Secretariat, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) .

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS