Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko took part in the session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on 14 October.

The event is held online as a video conference. Apart from the leaders of the EAEU countries, the session was attended by the presidents of the presidents of the EAEU observer countries Cuba and Uzbekistan.

The agenda included about ten issues. The EAEU heads of state were informed about the fulfillment of the instruction of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council which dates back to 11 December 2020 to harmonize approaches to pricing and tariff setting on the common gas market of the union and to establish a tariff for the transport of gas from third countries for domestic consumption. The politicians also discussed issues on the global climate agenda of the EAEU, the transition to the second stage in the formation of common markets of gas and oil products in the EAEU, the introduction of amendments to the list of sensitive goods the import duties for which are determined by the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

“I am glad that our integration agenda has noticeably gained pace by autumn. In September, we met in Dushanbe at the SCO and CSTO events, where we paid special attention to foreign policy issues. Today we have a good opportunity to discuss economic aspects of cooperation,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

At a meeting with the participation of the delegations the EAEU leaders adopted one of the key documents on the agenda of the meeting, which is the decision to shift to the second phase in the development of common markets of oil and oil products. The document envisages the preparation of draft trade regulations and stock trading in products before 2023. Plans are in place to work out an international agreement on the development of common markets of oil and oil products by 2024.

“While striving to create a common energy market, we need to take into account the interests of all member states of our union. Only in this way will we be able to ensure its stability and durability," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Belarus associates the future of the EAEU with the full and timely implementation of the strategy for the development of Eurasian Economic Integration until 2025.

"It is important now to concentrate on the measures outlined in this document. Only in this case, we will be able to set up the full-fledged economic union with the common markets for goods, services, capital and labor resources by 1 January 2025," the head of state said.

At the summit the President outlined the priorities of integration development.

In particular, he summoned to speed up the development of the digital space of the EAEU. “According to our estimates, the process of setting up and launching the EAEU integrated information system is really slow. We have been building it for about 10 years already. With all the immensity and complexity of the project, it is difficult to recognize such results as satisfactory. Only slightly more than 20 out of nearly 90 common processes work as they should,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also believes that it is necessary to accelerate the development of an agreement on the unified customs transit system. Its adoption along with the agreement on the use of navigation seals to track shipments in the EAEU will help increase the transit flow of goods, the President said.

The President believes that the member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union should seriously focus on their food security and take a number of appropriate decisions.

"We must seriously focus on the food security of our countries, protection from external price shocks caused by panic demand for certain agricultural products," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state suggested a system of medium- and long-term planning in agriculture at the level of the Eurasian Economic Union, taking into account the trends in the global agricultural market.

“We need to finally come to grips with unilateral bans and restrictions on product supplies,” the President said.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, to do this it is necessary to ensure a timely and full-fledged information exchange in the field of sanitary, phytosanitary and veterinary control.

According to the head of state, too little has been done on import substitution in the EAEU so far. In his opinion, this process should be linked with the industrial cooperation in the union.

“In order to avoid protectionism at the national level, it is necessary to use the industrial capacities and resources of our countries to the maximum. They are huge. It is important not just to promote industrial cooperation, but also to stimulate more advanced forms of cooperation by setting up supranational Eurasian companies or consortiums,” the President stressed.

According to the head of state, the financial infrastructure of the Eurasian Economic Union requires further improvements, including with a view to supporting partnerships in the manufacturing industry. To increase the number of joint projects with a high integration component, it is necessary to give access to project financing in the form of long-term loans with a preferential interest rate, the President believes.

“To do this, it is necessary to change the way the Eurasian Development Bank operates. The main drawbacks of its current operating model are the high threshold for financing projects and the absence of a preferential interest rate on loans,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

In addition to that, it is necessary to more actively involve national development institutions in joint research, the head of state suggested.

“Developing the financial topic, we cannot skip the issue of expanding the use of national currencies. The excessive use of certain foreign currencies in transactions takes a competitive edge in the economy and finance from us, threatens the security of our countries. Therefore, the EAEU should step up efforts to promote the use of national currencies,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.