Posted: 15.05.2024 11:06:56

EAEU should become a global pole of economic attraction

Speaking at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council summit in Moscow on May 8th, the President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, praised the successes achieved in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) over the past ten years and pointed to the issues which still needed solutions


“We can state with confidence that the first ten years have been quite successful. We have almost reached the final stage of the Strategy 2025,” the Head of State noted.
According to the President, the taken measures contributed to the increase in mutual trade of the EAEU member states. In late 2023, its growth amounted to nearly 5 percent. In absolute figures, this is about $90 billion. This achievement has come amid the continuing complicated situation in the world markets. Along with that, Aleksandr Lukashenko added that unresolved issues and challenges still remained in the integration construction. 

On industrial co-operation 

The Head of State recalled that fundamental decisions were made last year in order to financially support industrial co-operation. Despite this, serious business activity has not yet gained traction. “I would like to note once again that work in the face of sanctions requires immediate decisions. Quick decisions. The leaders of the participating countries make such decisions promptly for the most part. However, the decisions are not always implemented quickly,” the Belarusian leader underlined. “I would like to draw the attention of all those present to the fact that such sluggishness really affects the financial results of our enterprises and leads to tougher competition from third countries.” 
Given the new mechanism of financial support for industrial co-operation, Aleksandr Lukashenko asked the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) to join the work and organise interaction both in the context of industries and with the involvement of business associations and unions of the EAEU member states. “Considerable funds have been allocated to subsidise projects. Therefore, they need to be used very effectively and in a targeted way,” the Head of State emphasised.

On unhindered access to public procurement

According to the President, the volume of public procurement in the EAEU countries is estimated at almost $200 billion. In fact, the states as buyers of goods, works and services fully control this market and determine procurement policy and acquisition channels.
“If we really control it, then let’s ensure mutual access at least in the areas where the EAEU-made products can meet state needs,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked. 
The President stated that national protectionism still persists in this sector. In reality, the market is protected not from imports from third countries, which account for almost two-thirds of the EAEU’s public procurement, but from goods and services produced in the countries of the union. “I am convinced that the issue of expanding mutual participation in public procurement requires urgent attention since it is closely related to import substitution and technological sovereignty. By and large, this is our security and independence,” the Head of State pointed out.

On digitalisation 

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed the need to focus on the prompt recognition of the electronic digital signature, “We have been talking about it for years. All major agreements were reached long ago, but things are still where they started. After all, this is not a political but a technical issue. However, it often becomes an impassable barrier to the participation of Eurasian business in the economic processes of the EAEU member states.” 

On technical regulation

The topic of technical regulation is closely related to the aforesaid issue. “Work on the technical solution is on the home stretch. The only thing we need to do is to digitise technical regulation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated. “I am sure that no one in this hall needs to be convinced that digitalisation of technical regulation will provide our industry with additional opportunities for development. It will simplify the receipt of information as well as certification and standardisation processes.”

On transport services

Aleksandr Lukashenko lauded the EAEU for the generally co-ordinated work in this area both at the national and supranational levels. “We have managed to find alternative routes for the supply of goods, make agreements (albeit temporary) on transshipment and on new terms for crossing borders,” the President remarked. 
Nevertheless, the Head of State pointed out the need for the EEC to establish a permanent channel for information exchange with the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) countries, primarily with China. This is required for more accurate management of cargo flows and organisation of the effective operation of border crossings.

On food security 

The President believes it necessary to improve the work on unification of requirements related to the circulation of agricultural products, to actively introduce innovative approaches in the agro-industrial complex.
“It is extremely important for us to meet the EAEU’s needs for food of our own production. We can do this. For this purpose, out farmers need to have their own high-quality seed material,” the Belarusian leader added.

On the EAEU’s international positioning 

“Our geopolitical opponents are trying to isolate us from advanced technologies and premium markets, to restrain our development. However, we are consistently moving forward despite this,” the President emphasised.
The Head of State recalled the full-fledged trade agreement with Iran. The EAEU has been building mutually beneficial co-operation with promising friendly countries — Indonesia, the UAE, Mongolia. “In our opinion, the work on partnerships with third countries needs to be systematised. In the current geo-economic realities, it is necessary to clearly understand with which countries, in what sequence and within what timeframe we will form a free trade zone, and with which potential partners we will limit ourselves to interaction within the framework of memorandums,” Aleksandr Lukashenko urged. The President also believes that so far the EAEU has paid insufficient attention to dialogue with the African continent. “Africa needs a wide range of our goods, works, services and technologies,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “Africa, like Latin America, has had enough of colonialism from the respective countries. This is the moment when we must come to Africa.” 
In addition, the participation of the EAEU countries as well as the CIS partners in the SCO and BRICS opens up huge advantages. “We should not forget about our closest neighbours, friends, and brothers, though. Interaction with the EAEU observer states and the CIS countries should be in the zone of constant and close attention,” the Belarusian leader added.

On Russia’s role in strengthening partnership

“Active efforts of the Russian Federation to advance and strengthen our partnership have never been more important,” the Belarusian leader observed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the Russian side as a whole for the warm welcome and excellent organisation of the summit. “It is your first major international conference [after inauguration on May 7th]. We will certainly not fail you in this regard,” the President of Belarus assured.


Key takeaways from the EAEU summit

The presidents of Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Prime Minister of Armenia have signed a range of documents following the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Moscow. In particular, a decision was approved to start negotiations with Mongolia on concluding a temporary trade agreement between the EAEU and Mongolia. In accordance with the document, import customs duties in mutual trade will be reduced or eliminated on a number of goods.
In addition, a draft protocol on the electronic information exchange on the origin of goods with Vietnam was approved. “This format of interaction with an external partner has been introduced for the first time. It will enable customs authorities to directly receive the necessary data in digital format, which will significantly speed up the customs clearance processes and have a positive impact on trade,” Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Bakytzhan Sagintayev told reporters.

Based on materials of and