European Intergovernmental Council meeting in Yerevan: What Eurasian P5 leaders agree on

On 20-21 October 2022, a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council was held in the Armenian capital. Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov travelled to Yerevan to participate in the European Intergovernmental Council meetings, both in narrow and extended format, as well as to meet with President Vahagn Khachaturyan of the Republic of Armenia. 

The event was attended by Prime Ministers Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia, Roman Golovchenko of Belarus, Akylbek Japarov, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Head of the Presidential Administration of Kyrgyzstan, Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of Russia, as well as representatives of EEU observer states Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov of Uzbekistan and Ambassador Julio Antonio Garmendia Peña of Cuba.

The Heads of Government of the Eurasian Economic Union discussed sources and mechanisms for financing industrial cooperation projects within the EEU, elimination of obstacles in the internal market of the Union, and development of the Union's integrated information system.

EEU member states move consistently and purposefully towards removing barriers — Pashinian

Welcoming the participants of the meeting, the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan took the opportunity to thank his Kyrgyz colleagues for their successful chairmanship of the Union and their efforts in developing the current agenda and wished everyone constructive and fruitful work.

Continuing the discussions held the previous day on the key issues of the agenda, the Armenian Prime Minister drew attention to a number of important issues. 

As he noted, in spite of political tension and difficult socio-economic situation in the world, the EEU is consistently implementing its integration agenda, deepening cooperation between the countries.

"In the context of new and ongoing global challenges this year we can confidently state that there are positive outcomes and trends in mutual trade. In the process of establishing the EEU we have achieved serious success. A large common market has been created and the indices of our mutual trade have increased significantly. Our trade turnover with the EEU states for January-August of this year reached $2.8 billion, which increased by 74 percent compared to the same period last year. At that, exports from Armenia doubled and imports increased by 58%. At the same time, for all the opportunities provided by the EEU common market, we are also preserving the peculiarities and requirements of the national legislations. And if necessary, we will take protective measures for our domestic markets in response to new challenges," Pashinyan said.

According to him, at the same time, on the way to ensure the key idea of principle and integration, the full implementation of the four freedoms in the EEU space, the EEU member states are consistently and purposefully moving towards the removal of barriers.

"The issue of removing barriers is actually the issue of sustainability of the internal market, which does not lose its relevance. This is a continuous process, the effectiveness and efficiency of which largely depends on the coordinated work of the member states and Union bodies, as well as the willingness to find compromise solutions," Pashinyan said.

Further, the Head of Armenian Government noted that it is not superfluous to stress once again that the industrial sector is one of the major sectors in the economic system of the Union. In the conditions of modern economic challenges, the industrial cooperation and the development of joint productions, including in high technologies, will allow the countries of the Union to be more competitive.

According to him, development of a coherent policy and mechanisms for financing joint cooperation projects aimed at import substitution will be one of the main conditions for the establishment of a full-fledged single market of own goods. I am confident that the involvement of the potential of the financial institutions and joint efforts will soon allow us to switch in practice to the production of the products that are in demand in the Union.

As Pashinyan further mentioned, another important and urgent direction is the electronic trade sphere, the share of which is constantly growing, as in the modern world the development of digital platforms is an inevitable and permanent process. Accordingly, effective fiscal regulation of e-commerce sphere becomes more and more relevant.

"In this context, I consider it necessary to adopt norms as soon as possible, followed by discussion of outstanding issues to build a reliable system of regulation, based on the principles of taxation in the country of destination," Pashinyan said.

According to him, within the EEU integrated information system, Armenia stands for the modern solution of the issues of information system development and is ready to take maximum active part in these processes. The Prime Minister of Armenia expressed conviction that the formation of successive steps in the IT-sector stipulated by the target programme of the development of the integrated information system of the EAEU till 2027 will serve a strategic basis for reaching digital solutions, the demand for which is extremely high.

As for the formation of common EEU sectoral markets in the energy sphere, this, according to the Armenian Prime Minister, becomes not just a task for the implementation of the EEU Treaty provisions, but also a necessary condition for realizing the potential of economic integration and resource platform for the full development of the industrial sector.

"In this context, we are ready for a constructive dialogue based on mutual understanding and consideration of interests of all member states of the Union on the regulation of certain provisions of the draft international treaty on the formation of a common gas market, the implementation of which will allow the member states to take full advantage of the common gas market. Otherwise, the EEU member states will not be able to exploit the potential of the common gas market before the end of the bilateral treaties. Of course, this is a very sensitive issue, and we all need an understanding of the issue of price horizon, at least in the medium term," Pashinyan said.

Then he drew attention to environmental issues. Today, according to him, the issues of greenhouse gas reduction and carbon neutrality have become firmly entrenched not only in the environmental, but also in the economic trade agenda, dictating the need to rethink the entire model of economic development and accelerate action towards a more sustainable and low-carbon economy. 

"In terms of transition and interaction from a declarative to a more practical track, I would like to note with satisfaction the agreement of the first package of the Roadmap for cooperation of the EEU member states on the climate agenda. As a contribution to the global effort to mitigate climate change, we are voluntarily implementing a series of measures to reduce emissions in line with the provisions of the Paris Agreement," Pashinyan said.

In conclusion, the Armenian Prime Minister reaffirmed the readiness of the Armenian side to actively cooperate with all Union member states to promote Eurasian integration.

"I am confident that the decisions adopted today will contribute to the further development of the Eurasian integration and improve the well-being of our citizens, as well as to the implementation of the agreements reached. Given the fact that this year's meeting of the Intergovernmental Council is the final one, I am grateful for the systematic and consistent work and productive cooperation in 2022," Pashinyan concluded.

Digital transport corridor project launched within EEU — Zhaparov

"In the context of growing challenges and restrictions in foreign markets and sanctions pressure from certain countries on our partners in the economic union, we need to create the most comfortable conditions for business in our domestic markets, so that difficulties in foreign markets are compensated. If no mitigating measures are taken, we may face more serious challenges for our economies," Akylbek Japarov, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic, said at an enlarged meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council.

As the head of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic noted, given the current difficult conditions of foreign economic activities, the transformation of supply chains and financial settlements, as well as unilateral sanctions on strategic partners in the Union, the economies of the EEU countries are experiencing serious changes.

"I would like to emphasise that the anti-crisis stabilisation measures adopted both at the national and at the level of the Eurasian Economic Union bodies are demonstrating their effectiveness, and this is confirmed by real figures. Despite significant external unfavorable factors, we managed to avoid a sharp decline of the national GDP, which by the end of 7 months has remained almost at the level of the same period in 2021," Japarov said in his speech.

According to the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, the positive indicators are observed in industrial production. The index of physical volume of industrial production in January-August 2022 amounted to 100.8%.

The Union's potential in agricultural production is being strengthened. Agricultural production in the EEU in January-August this year increased by 4.4%.

There is also a positive trend in the inflow of investments in the EEU member states with an increase of 6.6%.

The number of the unemployed registered in the employment services of the EEU has decreased by 28.2%, while the real wages in the whole Union are growing, said the head of the Kyrgyz delegation.

"According to the results of the first six months, the volume of foreign trade of the Union with the key partners like China, India and ASEAN countries shows steady growth. Thus, the volume of trade with them grew by 31.9%, 31.7% and 11.3% respectively. Despite the existing restrictions, the volume of trade with the European Union nevertheless showed an increase of 28.4%. Dynamics of economic development of the Kyrgyz Republic according to the results of 9 months of the current year is also positive. So, GDP grew by 7.2% compared to the same period of 2021," Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan said during his speech.

In January-July this year, trade turnover between the Kyrgyz Republic and the EAEU countries amounted to about $2.5 billion and in comparison with the same period last year it has increased by 35.0%, with export reaching $682.3 million and import $1.7 billion.

"In the context of increasing challenges and restrictions in foreign markets and sanctions pressure from certain countries against our partners in the economic union, we need to create the most comfortable conditions for business in our domestic markets so that the difficulties in foreign markets are compensated. If no mitigating measures are taken, we may face more serious challenges for our economies," the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic urged during his speech.

It should be noted that the global economic outlook is not very comforting. A sharp decline in growth rates and a recession of the world economy in the coming years is expected.

"In this regard, I believe that the high-level working group on creating conditions to improve the sustainability of the EEU member states' economies should conduct constant monitoring of the economic situation at the global and regional levels, and, if necessary, propose the necessary package of anti-crisis measures," Japarov added.

He stressed that over the past 9 months, the EEU member states jointly took coordinated measures to ensure economic sustainability and food security, business support and further development of integration processes in the Union.

"55 decisions of EEU bodies were taken, 3 packages of measures were adopted, according to the results of which import duty rates for 1310 commodity items - these are goods of food and raw materials group for food production, light industry products, pharmaceutical products, mechanical engineering and other goods - were temporarily zeroed," Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan emphasized during his speech.

Also, as Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan said, in order to create favourable conditions and support business in crisis conditions the requirements for a number of technical regulations of the Union were softened.

"In order to avoid shortages of essential and critical imported goods, the threshold of duty-free importation of goods for individuals has been increased to 1,000 euros. The work on coordination of measures to ensure food security of the countries of the Union has been stepped up, including through approval of joint indicative balances of the main socially important goods. Thanks to prompt measures taken this spring we managed to avoid food shortages. In order to provide medicines, registration procedures have been simplified for medicines and medical products, as well as technical procedures for import of equipment and raw materials for production," Prime Minister Akylbek Japarov, head of the Kyrgyz delegation, said during his presentation.

In addition, to minimise controls at the internal borders of the Union, increase transit attractiveness of the member states, ensure traceability of goods and their legal turnover within the EEU, an Agreement on the use of navigation seals within the Union was signed.

Conditions have been created for foreign trade participants in terms of the development of guarantee mechanisms for transit traffic, the reduction of financial guarantees and the development of the institute of suretyship. A corresponding agreement was also signed this year, said the head of the Cabinet of the Kyrgyz Republic.

"Addressing the heads of member states of the Union at the beginning of this year, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov outlined the priorities of the Kyrgyz Republic chairmanship in the bodies of the Eurasian Economic Union, which are as follows. First of all, the need to achieve the goals set in the Strategic directions of economic integration until 2025, to ensure the principle of "four freedoms" in the internal market of the Union, to increase cooperation in industrial and agro-industrial sectors, to develop and implement joint projects on import substitution, to create and develop transport infrastructure, to develop international cooperation," Japarov said.

According to the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, thanks to concerted actions a lot of work has been done this year to implement the Strategic directions of the Eurasian economic integration until 2025. 

For development of the Union and consistent growth of mutual trade between the member states there were recommendations for national, central banks and governments of member states to increase the share of national currencies in mutual settlements between the Union states and economic entities, also the Protocol on Amendments to the EEU Treaty in terms of the possibility of transfer of import customs duties between the Union member states in national currencies was signed.

"As a result of painstaking work, we managed to lay the groundwork for the implementation of important infrastructure and transport projects like the Eurasian Agro-Express. A road map to expand industrial cooperation in the field of civil aviation in the Eurasian Economic Union states in 2022-2023 and a list of priority integration infrastructure projects in the transport sector of the Union member states were adopted," Akylbek Japarov said.

According to Japarov, this year the EEU member states gave a new impetus to cooperation and import substitution in the priority and high-tech industries within the Eurasian Economic Union by creating a special Commission for this purpose.

"I would like to point out that the prospect of forming import-substituting high-tech industries is a job for years, and the resources we will receive from special and anti-dumping duties will be small for the sustainable implementation of this initiative. Accordingly, we need more effective and stable mechanisms and sources of financing. In this regard, I propose the Commission to further study issues of alternative sources of funding and forms of financial support for cooperative projects," Head of the Cabinet of Ministers said.

Also during his speech, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan touched upon formation of a joint pool of infrastructure projects.

"Along with the formation of mechanisms and sources of funding for joint cooperative projects, we should consider the institutional framework for the formation of mechanisms to support the development and development of the cooperative ecosystem. Such institutions already exist at the national level, and further development of integration will certainly require the creation of such a supranational institution with a mandate to form a pool of cooperative projects, develop a common methodology for assessing investment projects, prepare recommendations to improve the investment attractiveness, assist regions in attracting investment and in preparing investment projects," Japarov said.

The fight against barriers in the internal market of the Eurasian Economic Union remains one of the most important areas on the agenda. 

According to the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, over the past 6 years, each of the heads of the Eurasian Economic Union member states spoke about the problems on the internal market, but, as Mr. Zhaparov said, the number of obstacles is not going down. 

"Obviously, there is a need to revise the approaches and build a more efficient Commission and fully implement its functions and competencies, as well as to involve the EEU Court in this process. Perhaps it is time to think about more effective, perhaps harsh, but effective mechanisms of both legal and financial impact," Prime Minister Akylbek Japarov said during his speech.

The Eurasian Economic Union is working systematically to expand international trade and economic cooperation of the Union with third countries.

Thus, a protocol on the extension of the Interim Agreement leading to a free trade zone with Iran has been adopted, and a decision has been made to start negotiations with the Republic of Indonesia on a free trade agreement. A memorandum of understanding was signed with the Competition Commission of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa on competition policy and enforcement.

The free trade area agreement with Egypt is at a high level of readiness for signing. Negotiations on the agreement with the United Arab Emirates are actively underway.

According to Zhaparov, in order to cooperate in the areas of regional economic integration, economy and finance, transport and transport, digitalisation and information and communication technologies, industry and agriculture, trade policy and competition policy, a memorandum between the EEC and the CICA Secretariat was signed on October 13 this year.

"Completion of the negotiation track with these countries and organisations will open market access for our manufacturers to more than 2 billion consumers. In order to implement the EEU's Digital Agenda, a target programme for the development of an integrated information system until 2027 has been prepared. The institution of a single IIS operator is being introduced," Akylbek Japarov said.

At the same time, a project of digital transport corridors has been launched. There are plans to abandon paper-based support for transport and logistics operations, create unified standards for transport and logistics services and switch to an end-to-end integrated oversight system based on data analysis, relieving carriers of a large share of administrative burden.

In addition, the "Work without Borders" project has been completed, under which more than 4,000 EEU citizens have already found employment.

"I would like to note the coherent and productive work of the Commission and our governments. I am sure that the implementation of the action plan on the implementation of the address of the respected Sadyr Nurgozhoyevich Japarov in connection with the chairmanship of the Kyrgyz Republic will be continued by the Eurasian Economic Commission," Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Akylbek Japarov concluded.

Economic ties between EEU countries only grow stronger amid sanctions pressure — Golovchenko

This was stated by Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko at an enlarged meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council, which is taking place in Yerevan today. 

"As we can all see, the year 2022 is taking place in the context of unprecedented and large-scale geopolitical events, which certainly affect our cooperation within the EEU as well. Fortunately, and probably to the displeasure of our enemies, the impact is not at all according to their scenario. The relevance of Eurasian economic integration is growing, our union continues to gain international prestige and develop dynamically in the face of brutal interference and sanctions pressure. Economic ties between our countries are only getting stronger," Roman Golovchenko stressed.

The states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) have not yet fully agreed on approaches to the formation of common energy markets, R. Golovchenko stressed. 

"We need to make fundamental decisions to implement the basic objectives of the agreement on the creation of the union. These are equal business conditions, formation of common energy markets, free movement of goods, services, capital and labour. Yes, there are still disagreements on difficult issues, particularly on the formation of common markets of energy resources. But we are motivated to complete the work under the conditions that would suit all the Union members," said the head of the Belarusian government.

Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko also said about the progress in the formation of energy markets of the EEU. 

"The most important issue is the formation of common markets of energy resources on fair terms. We also devoted a lot of time to this issue yesterday. Despite the fact that issues remain unresolved, I want to say that we have also come a long way and the parties have significantly brought their positions closer in comparison with the initial phase of negotiations on this issue," he said.

Golovchenko also noted significant progress in creating equal business conditions. In his words, a long way has been made towards removing barriers to mutual trade. He expressed confidence that all remaining issues will be resolved and the EEU countries will forget about the barriers and exemptions in mutual trade.

"We need to go deeper, to dive further into the essence of our ideological cooperation. It is the development of our competencies of the states and their synergy in creating new modern goods and technologies. According to the Belarusian side, we have to move away from the concept of screwdriver assembly of somebody else's products and unconditionally develop our own competences, of which there are many. Therefore, it is very important in this context that yesterday we discussed funding mechanism for such projects. And they think that the closeness of positions on this issue speaks for itself," he added.

In his opinion, there should be more projects to create an innovative product under the Eurasian brand. 

"Belarus is satisfied with the way the issues of deepening cooperation in the industrial sector and development of cooperation ties are being considered. But we emphasize that time makes us move faster. We cannot let real projects get bogged down in endless expert consultations," Roman Golovchenko said.

The outlines of work to create a pilot joint innovation product under the Eurasian brand are being actively discussed.

"We are convinced that the Eurasian Electric Bus pilot project we have proposed will make it possible to make an inventory of existing competences, to focus the efforts of the parties on ensuring the technological sovereignty of the EEU states. But there should be several such projects. We should not concentrate on just one. Let the EEC or any of the member states of the union do it, proposing their options. Of course, even now Belarus can offer such projects if it suits its colleagues," the Prime Minister noted.

Golovchenko said that at the moment the parties are working out financial conditions. At the same time it is necessary to pay attention to technological chains, which is not an easy job. 

"We expect that the implementation of our initiative and the solution of financing issues (both funding and incentives) will launch an irreversible process of further development of the industrial sector, the real economy in our states on the principles of technological sovereignty. Eurasian integration should, first and foremost, ensure the interests of industrial enterprises and domestic businesses in the real sector of the economy. After all, this sector, which forms a high added value and provides citizens with employment, is the engine of economic development of our union, the objectives of which are clearly and succinctly set out in the Treaty on the EEU signed in 2014,"  Belarusian Prime Minister summarized.

Kazakhstan increases exports of processed products to EEU countries by 64%

Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov thanked his Armenian colleagues and Nikolay Vovayevich personally for the traditional hospitality and warm welcome in Yerevan.

In his speech, the head of the Kazakhstan Government noted that active work within the EEU in conditions of geopolitical turbulence makes it possible to address both current issues of sustainability of the economies of the states and build strategic directions of cooperation.

"The Eurasian Commission has become an effective platform for addressing topical issues arising in the Eurasian region. We consistently and systematically address the challenges of expanding mutual trade, industrial cooperation, transport logistics and other pressing issues for our people and businesses. Despite external challenges, Kazakhstan's mutual trade with the EEU countries in 8 months of this year exceeded $17 billion, which is 5% higher than over the same period last year," the Prime Minister said.  

Since the creation of the association, Kazakhstan has increased exports of processed products to the EEU countries by 64%. And overall, Kazakhstan's exports to the EEU countries increased by 35%. At the same time, the commodity nomenclature is expanding in favor of finished goods. Under the coordination of the Eurasian Economic Commission, more than 80% of the barriers have been removed so far.

"In the coming years, we will have to form a legal framework for the functioning of the common financial and energy markets. These are important areas of interaction between our countries. There is also serious work to be done to implement the Strategy for the further development of Eurasian integration until 2025. I am convinced that the development of the Eurasian Union must be built on a solid foundation of the implementation of basic agreements. First and foremost, this is a barrier-free environment for goods, services, and workers," Smailov said.

In this regard, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan noted the following important issues.

First. This is the national regime in public procurement of member states under the Treaty on the EEU. 

Technical and technological requirements, local content, even geographical limitations - this is by no means a complete list of the barriers businesses face when trying to participate in public procurements of partner countries.

"In 2020, uniform rules were adopted providing common requirements for the production of goods. In less than 2 years, these Rules have been amended and supplemented 10 times! This is due to the fact that, in practice, parties bypass the Rules by setting additional requirements. I think that it is necessary to adjust the principles of national treatment in public procurement in general. Alternatively, a threshold for public procurement below which national treatment would not be granted could be defined. Parties could legitimately establish preferences for national producers below this threshold. This practice is used in the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). I ask the Commission to discuss this proposal," Smailov said.

Second. In 2014, Kazakhstan adopted an agreement on the introduction of unified vehicle passport forms and the organisation of electronic passport systems.

"Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to agree on the form of integration of the national information systems and the Administrator's information systems, nor have we been able to clearly define their functionality. The issue is complicated by different interpretations of the Agreement's norms, which in fact leads to barriers to trade. I consider it necessary to instruct the Commission to take this issue under control and report at the next EMPU meeting," Smailov said.  

Third. Unified technical regulation.

According to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, this is a prerequisite for the functioning of the common market of the EEU. The documents regulating this sphere were among the first to be adopted. At the same time, out of 52 technical regulations in force today, 35 were adopted before the EEU started functioning. In this regard, in some cases it is objectively necessary to update the technical regulations.

"By forming a unified base of technical regulations, we pursued the objective of the free circulation of goods complying with safety requirements. At the same time, existing gaps in the regulation of the process of issuing certificates provide an opportunity to import goods on the basis of fictitious certificates. At the initiative of Kazakhstan, an Action Plan has been adopted to combat grey certificates. I ask the Commission to take this issue under control and work on eliminating gaps and inconsistencies in technical regulations. I am confident that only joint efforts, as well as real actions by each side of the EEU, will allow our countries to overcome the current challenges and achieve further development of the Eurasian Economic Union," Prime Minister of Kazakhstan summed up.. 

Russia stands for maximising the growth potential of the EEU common market — Mishustin 

For his part, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin noted that a harmonised system of cooperation in all spheres of the union continues to be built on a consensus basis in order, first and foremost, to improve the quality of life of citizens and create the most comfortable business environment.

"The dynamics of trade turnover of the EEU states reflects the positive effect of the integration processes that we are discussing here at this platform. Last year the volume of mutual trade between the states of the Union reached a maximum during the whole period of existence of our union. It exceeded $73 billion, which is 33% more than in 2020. And if we talk about foodstuffs and agricultural raw materials, the growth has been about 21%. The physical volume of mutual supplies has grown by 11%," Mishustin said.

According to the Russian prime minister, the Eurasian integration is developing in the current difficult circumstances - against the turbulent global economy, growing geostrategic tensions. External pressure on Russia and Belarus undoubtedly affects all members of the "five". And first of all, it affects the functioning of the single market.

At the end of the first half of the year, gross domestic product of the union exceeded $1 trillion. Investment in fixed capital grew by more than 6.5% and the volume of construction work performed by 3.5%.

"Of course, we need to consolidate all these trends. We need to increase cooperation in all areas, from economics and trade to industrial production technologies, innovations, and the humanitarian sphere. Any cooperation projects should be welcomed, and we should encourage them with all the tools we have in our arsenal," Mishustin said.  

According to the Prime Minister, one of the key objectives is to deepen industrial cooperation, where joint ventures in strategically important and high-tech industries should be launched. To create a system for financing such projects using the mechanism of subsidising the interest rate on loans. This will contribute to the technological development of all EEU member states.

"We believe that it is extremely important that at least three of the five countries must participate in each cooperation project. This approach will guarantee access for small economies to the development of new technologies, and will stimulate integration processes in the Eurasian space as a whole. Businesses in our countries know how to cooperate effectively - cooperation chains are being formed on the basis of new agreements. New enterprises are put into operation. And there should be as many such examples as possible. To this end, we need to stimulate the creation of joint companies," Mishustin said.

Each of the five countries has its own innovations and excellent technological examples, he said. 

"We can share best practices, find common ground and achieve great success using each other's strengths. Russia also offers a profitable solution for Eurasian businesses that focus on foreign markets. We invite our alliance partners to participate in the Russian Industrial Zone in Egypt. By localising 30% of production there, companies will receive significant advantages. These include proximity to the main maritime transport infrastructure and benefits when using the ports of the Suez Canal. But most importantly, they will be exempt from paying customs duties on exports to Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and other countries that have trade agreements with Egypt. These preferences apply to all potential residents - without reference to country of origin. I would like you to pay special attention to this," Mishustin said.  

The main sectors of the Russian industrial zone are machine building, chemical, automotive, timber and metallurgy.

By strengthening interaction on international markets, Russia stands for maximising the growth potential of the EEU common market, ensuring free movement of goods, services, capital and labour.

"We are already improving approaches based on international experience. About 60 barriers have been removed since then. We welcome the decision that we have taken to complete the procedures related to the removal of the remaining ones as soon as possible," Mishustin stressed.

The Russian prime minister also stressed the need to continue coordinating efforts in the transport policy field. We are talking about the routes that pass first of all through the EEU. It is necessary to build transport and logistics chains in the eastern direction, as well as within the international corridor "North-South". Taking into account the reorientation of raw material supplies and close trade and economic interaction with China and other states of the Asia-Pacific region.

"We believe it is important to give an impetus to relevant activities on the territory of the EEU, to form together conditions for increasing freight traffic and reducing the time required to deliver goods. Modern infrastructure on our common continent is also necessary to create a Greater Eurasian Partnership," Mishustin said. 

Another area, according to the chairman of the Russian government, which is especially relevant in today's conditions, is the digital agenda. One of the indicators of its implementation within the EEU is the export of goods in the field of information and communication technologies. According to last year's results, trade in such products grew by more than 30%.

"Advanced solutions contribute to the dynamic development of all spheres of the economy, including helping to strengthen cooperation between the countries, simplifying and speeding up all procedures. We are preparing for the full launch of the Union's integrated information system. It is designed to ensure inter-state cooperation in electronic form, which is long overdue. It will become an effective and modern tool for the development of business and trade and economic partnership," Mishustin said.  

The Russian prime minister also touched on the climate. 

"Today we see a significant slowdown in environmental projects in the West. This is due to the increased demand for energy. The Eurasian Economic Union, on the other hand, has every opportunity to develop its climate agenda. We must use them rationally and productively to the maximum extent possible. Concrete steps have already been outlined here. We have succeeded in moving forward with the elaboration of conceptual documents. We believe that we should continue to do everything necessary to bring our positions closer together," Mishustin summed up.  

In Uzbekistan, the number of enterprises with capital from EEU countries has reached 4,500  — Aripov 

Uzbekistan in the status of an observer state stands for the development and strengthening of mutually beneficial partnership with the EEU, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov said during an extended meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council. 

He stressed that together with the countries of the Union, in spite of the global crisis phenomena, the difficult tasks of sustainable socio-economic development are consistently being solved. Along with the expansion of trade relations, priority is given to enhancing cooperation in investment, industrial cooperation, transport logistics, food and energy security. 

"Thanks to mutual support and joint efforts, we have been able to boost mutual trade. Thus, foreign trade turnover between Uzbekistan and the EEU states in the first nine months of this year has increased by 41% and reached $12.5 billion, which is one third of the total trade of our country. With partners from the EEU we systematically promote significant industrial cooperation projects and create effective value chains. In Uzbekistan, the number of enterprises with the participation of capital of the association countries has increased significantly, the number of which today has reached 4.5 thousand. We actively cooperate with the Eurasian Economic Commission," Aripov said.

Thus, we continue to implement large-scale reforms in all spheres of state and social development. The effectiveness of the implemented measures is confirmed by the growing dynamics of macroeconomic indicators. Thus, GDP for the first 9 months of this year in Uzbekistan grew by 5.8% compared to the same period last year. 

"At the same time, given the global challenges and risks, there is an increasing demand and coordination of joint efforts and increased efficiency between our countries in a multilateral format. In this regard, we consider it appropriate to focus our common efforts on deepening the partnership. We advocate the joint development of an agreement on technical regulation, providing for the removal of technical barriers and mutual recognition of the results of product certification between Uzbekistan and the EEU countries, this will create the necessary conditions for the removal of trade restrictions and increase mutual trade turnover. We believe it is important to raise the level of interregional industrial cooperation and production cooperation, which will help move away from raw material orientation, develop high-tech production, strengthen localisation processes and create import-substituting products," Prime Minister of Uzbekistan concluded. 

Cuba interested in EEU participation in its economy

The Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, Julio Antonio Garmendia Peña, said that the status of the Republic of Cuba as an observer state in the EEU is in line with development strategies, and guided by the provision of strategic directions for the Eurasian economic integration until 2025, Cuba is working actively to carry out the tasks planned for this phase, related to strengthening mutual exchange in all identified areas and concluding trade agreements on exported goods and services of interest to Cuba and member states. 

"It is encouraging to see the regular exchange of views between representatives of our Mariel Special Development Zone and the Eurasian Economic Commission on the establishment of an EEU industrial park in this zone, besides there is significant potential in all areas of the country that EEU countries can take advantage of to carry out projects with foreign investment in various fields," Julio Antonio Garmendia Peña said.

Cuba reiterates that it is very interested in the EEU countries' participation in socio-economic development in the short, medium and long term, and especially in areas of great potential and mutual interest. Such as hydrocarbon exploration and production, energy, especially renewable energy, tourism, agriculture and iron and steel industry. 

He also stressed the importance of the "prospects for cooperation in the areas of health and biotechnology" between the island and the association countries.

"We, as an observer state, reaffirm our readiness to contribute to achieving the goals of the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as to consolidate the role and influence of this organization at the international level," Julio Antonio Garmendia Peña added.

Following the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council a number of documents were approved and signed. The next meeting will be held in February 2023 in Almaty.

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