Russia is rebuilding relations with Asia

Алексей Валентинович Улюкаев, Министр Экономического развития РФ

On 05 August 2016 in Laos held a meeting of economic Ministers of East Asia summit. It is traditionally held on the eve of the 11-th East Asia summit, scheduled for September 2016.

East Asia summit since 2005 serves as a platform to discuss political and economic issues common to countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Meetings are held every year before the summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In addition to the 10 ASEAN countries Russia, Australia, India, China, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, USA and Japan take part there as a partners.

The Minister of economy of Russia Alexei Ulyukayev and colleagues discussed the economic situation and suggested the Russian variant of the Concept of economic partnership with ASEAN countries. It is based on the proposal of new priorities for cooperation that will ensure its growth: investments (including in the framework of the pairing process to the Eurasian economic Union and the Economic zone of the silk road), mutual trade in services, development of infrastructure, supply chains etc. With a number of countries the possibility of establishing free trade zones is considering, application of Russian technologies of desalination of water and construction of bridges is discussed too, etc. The concept was prepared by experts of the Russian Academy of foreign trade and economic research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

Foreign trade turnover of Russia with the States of ASEAN in 2015 amounted to $146.5 billion (-29.5% compared to 2014). The exports were decreased by -25.7%, and import by 33.4%. In January-may 2016 the trade turnover of Russia with the countries ASEAN dropped by -20,3% by 2015 to $48.6 billion, the Volume of Russian exports fell by -26.2%, import – by -13.1%.

According to A. V. Ulyukayev, the creation of a free trade zone between the Eurasian economic Union (EEU) and ASEAN may take 2-3 years. With Vietnam an agreement has been aldready reached. It is in the process with Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

A major role in the development of cooperation plays a Financial Fund, created for needs of dialogue partnership the Russian Federation with ASEAN. “In 2015-2016 it implemented 10 projects in the areas of space and satellite technology, nanotechnology, food security, energy, education and human resource development, small and medium enterprises and tourism. Another 11 projects are at various stages of consideration”, – said Alexei Ulyukayev.

ASEAN countries in particular will be invited to integrate with the Russian-Chinese agreements. At the moment China is the first partner of the Russian Federation, the structure of the relationship is changing now. “Gradually increase the share of machine-technical products in Russia’s exports, rising supplies of high-tech innovative products. Significant activation observed in the trade in agricultural and food products,” – said the Minister. In addition, in the Chinese capital Beijing in 2016 to open the Russian trading house, which will help Russian exports in the country.

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