Putin proposed to create a free trade zone of the EAEC and ASEAN

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Putin proposed to create a free trade zone of the EAEC and ASEAN 20.05.2016 11:01


Eurasian Economic Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) could create a joint free trade area, said Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with representatives of the ASEAN - Russia Business Forum in Sochi.


The Head of State proposed to think about the possibility of linking the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC), the ASEAN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Economic Belt of the Silk Road, and also announced that Russia has gone through “the bottom of crisis” in 2015. Government measures have been effective and the Central Bank has also worked well.


It is no coincidence one of the first events of the summit was the meeting of the leaders with businessmen. “This further underscores the priority that we all attach to development of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and the “dozen” countries, - Putin said. “Our common goal is to promote the convergence of economies, enhance communication, create conditions for the start of new projects”, he said.


Last year, Russia’s trade with ASEAN reached $ 13.7 billion. This is a fairly modest: for example, trade exchange between China and at the Asian “dozens” reached $ 80 billion, between Russia and China about the same.


The level of investment cooperation does not also match possible potential. Total investment is $ 11 billion. “We need to work jointly to think to improve the situation", - Putin summoned. There is already a considerable experience in the implementation of joint projects on a bilateral basis, and it is necessary to give an additional impetus to the development of business relations.


Russia has prepared a “road map”: 57 projects aimed at creating joint alliances. The president is convinced that cooperation within the energy industry could be brought to a new level. ASEAN countries need hydrocarbons, and Russia is ready to meet this demand, to suggest projects to build nuclear power plants, to develop the electricity, to build railroads, to introduce GLONASS satellite navigation system.


“Russia is also committed to join the initiatives to develop the region as a whole", - said Putin and invited ASEAN businessmen to take part in the programs of the advanced development of the Far East. “We are trying to create the most favorable conditions for business activity”, - he said and recalled that Russia has already got up to 51 from 120 positions according the World Bank rating.


“Our economy has proven stability in terms of unfavorable external conditions”, - Putin stressed and praised the anti-crisis measures of the government: in particular, a low unemployment rate was maintained, one of the lowest external debt. He praised the actions of the Central Bank and - the introduction of a flexible exchange rate of the ruble has allowed maintaining a high level of foreign reserves - $ 391.5 billion.


“The bottom of the crisis in 2015 can be considered as passed”, - summed up the Russian leader.


So it’s time to work together. “Regional integration organizations play increasingly important role in the global economy”, - said the President. In the framework of the EAEC and ASEAN common rules for the free movement of goods, services, capital and labor are established. The agreement on free trade zone has already been concluded by the Eurasian Economic Union and Vietnam, Singapore has shown interest, as well as a number of other countries - Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. “It is possible to create in the long term a common free trade area between the EAEC and ASEAN as a whole”, - Putin suggested.


Another important issue is the process of linking of EAEC, ASEAN, SCO and the Silk Road Economic Belt. This issue will be discussed today during the plenary session. The Russian leader also invited everyone to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, and the forum in Vladivostok in September.