As I have reported on April 24, the members of the Eurasian Economic Space, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, back then were accelerating the forming of the Eurasian Economic Union. A union that can be compared to the European Union. Today President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko signed the Agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, where the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council met.
The agreement is based on norms of the contractual legal framework of the Eurasian Customs Union and Common Economic Space (those were prior stages of Eurasian cooperation), which were optimized, improved and brought into compliance with the rules of the World Trade Organisation, according to kremlin.ru. The three nations will allow the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour and work on further coordinated policy in with regard to energy, industry, agriculture and transport. From Putin’s speech today (I, II):
Our meeting today is a truly milestone event. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are signing the Agreement on the Eurasian Economic Council. This document will take our countries to a completely new integration level, fully retaining their national sovereignty, but providing for closer and better-coordinated economic cooperation.
Today, we are creating together a powerful and attractive economic development centre, a major regional market uniting over 170 million people. Our Union has immense natural resources, including energy resources. It accounts for 20 percent of the global natural gas reserves and 15 percent of oil reserves. At the same time, the three states have a developed industrial base, vast labour resources, and a powerful intellectual and cultural potential.
Our geographic location makes it possible to create transportation and logistics routes of not only regional, but also global significance and attract large-scale trade from Europe and Asia. All this is the basis for the competitiveness of our union, for its dynamic development in this rapidly changing and complicated world.
I would like to stress that the Eurasian Economic Union will operate based on universal, transparent and clear principles. This includes the norms and principles of the WTO.
For the future, we have set ourselves the goal of creating a common financial market. The absence of barriers in the flow of capital will make it possible to diversify risks and improve the quality, accessibility and reliability of financial services.
Stage-by-stage harmonisation of the currency policy will serve to enhance the stability of the financial systems of the Union member states and will make the national money markets more predictable and better protected from exchange rate fluctuations, and will enhance our sovereignty as well.
Of course, we touched upon the issue of expanding membership in the Eurasian Union, as Mr Nazarbayev already mentioned, and we have considered the draft agreement with Armenia. This document should be approved and signed shortly. Armenia would like to have this done in June. Overall, we all agreed. We expect that shortly after the Union is set up, Armenia will become its full-fledged member.
We also discussed the prospects for other partners joining the Union, primarily Kyrgyzstan. We have just had a detailed discussion with the President of Kyrgyzstan. I believe chances are high, though there is still a lot of work to be done to draft the relevant documents. We are ready to help, and Kyrgyzstan has every chance of joining the Union soon.
We agreed to step up our negotiations, as I already said, with Vietnam on creating a free trade zone, to strengthen cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, specifically in the exchange of customs information on goods and services, and to form expert groups that would work out preferential trade regimes with Israel and India.
I am convinced that through joint efforts we will be able to create favourable conditions for the development of our economies in order to maintain stability, security and prosperity in Eurasia.
it’s only matter of time before more countries will join the EEU. On the joint currency Altyn that is supposed to be introduced in the EEU, according to Russian media in April, nothing was said.
Putin and Nazarbayev additionally signed of a number of documents on the supply of oil, the use of subsoil resources at the Kharasan-1, Akdala and South Inkai fields, and cooperation in alternative energy and rare-earth metals mining.
The EEU is another clear example of increasing cooperation on the Asian continent and the formation of power blocks, underlining the descent of the US as the world superpower. A few examples of developments in previous months:
– Russia closed an energy deal with China worth $400 billion, amongst 40 other business contracts
– China, Russia, Iran and 21 other countries bolstered cooperation to promote peace, security and stability
– China heavily invested in infrastructure in West Asia and Africa
– China and Russia held a massive naval drill in the East China Sea
– China openly called for de-Americanization of the world
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