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08 May 2024, 20:24

Lukashenko satisfied with better communication inside EAEU, points out shortcomings

MOSCOW, 8 May (BelTA) – Speaking at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council summit in Moscow on 8 May Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko praised the successes achieved in the EAEU over the past ten years and also pointed to the issues which still needed solutions, BelTA has learned.

“We can state with confidence that the first ten years have been quite successful. We have almost reached the final stage of the Strategy 2025,” the head of state said.

According to him, the taken measures contributed to the increase in mutual trade of the EAEU member states. In late 2023 its growth amounted to almost 5%. In absolute figures this is about $90 billion. This achievement comes amid the continuing complicated situation in the world markets.

“The main thing is that we have learned to hear each other better. Neither GDP growth nor an increase in real incomes would have been possible if we had stayed apart from each other. Not everyone of us would have been able to preserve its sovereignty. No doubt that a lot has been done,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Our Union is still relatively young, but a great deal of effort, energy and funds have already been invested in its development. It is our responsibility to ensure that it continues to develop for the benefit of our peoples and becomes a real pole of economic attraction in the modern world. I am absolutely convinced that we can do it.”

The president added, however, that unresolved issues and challenges still remained in the integration construction.

Industrial cooperation 

The head of state recalled that last year fundamental decisions were made in order to financially support industrial cooperation. Despite this, serious business activity has not yet gained traction. "I would like to note once again that work in the face of sanctions requires immediate decisions. Quick decisions. The leaders of the participating countries make such decisions promptly for the most part. However, the decisions are not always implemented quickly," the Belarusian leader noted. "I would like to draw the attention of all those present to the fact that such sluggishness really affects the financial results of our enterprises and leads to tougher competition from third countries." 

Taking into account the new mechanism of financial support for industrial cooperation, Aleksandr Lukashenko asked the Eurasian Economic Commission to join this work and organize interaction both in the context of industries and with the involvement of business associations and unions of the EAEU member states. 

"Considerable funds have been allocated to subsidize projects, and they need to be used in a targeted way, very effectively," the head of state emphasized.

On unhindered access to public procurement
According to the president, the volume of public procurement in the EAEU countries is estimated at almost $200 billion. In fact, the states, as buyers of goods, works and services, fully control this market and determine procurement policy and acquisition channels.

"If we really control it, then let's ensure mutual access at least in the areas where the EAEU-made products can meet state needs," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. 

He stated that national protectionism still persists in this sector: in reality, the market is protected not from imports from third countries, which account for almost two-thirds of the EAEU's public procurement, but from goods and services produced in the countries of the union. 

"I am convinced that the issue of expanding mutual participation in public procurement requires urgent attention. Because it is closely related to import substitution and technological sovereignty. By and large, this is our security and independence," the head of state said.

On digitalization 

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed the need to focus on the prompt recognition of the electronic digital signature: “We have been talking about it for years. All major agreements were reached long ago, but things are still were they started. After all this is not a political but a technical issue. However, it often becomes an impassable barrier to the participation of Eurasian business in the economic processes of the EAEU member states.

The president believes it is necessary to complete this as soon as possible.

On technical regulation

The topic of technical regulation is closely related to the aforesaid issue. “Work on the technical solution is on the home stretch. The only thing we need to do is to digitize technical regulation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “I am sure that no one in this hall needs to be convinced that digitalization of technical regulation will provide our industry with additional opportunities for development. It will simplify the receipt of information and the processes of certification and standardization.”

On transport services

Aleksandr Lukashenko lauded the EAEU for the generally coordinated work in this area both at the national and supranational levels: "We managed to find alternative routes for the supply of goods, make agreements (albeit temporary) on transshipment and on new terms for crossing borders." 

Nevertheless, Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out the need for the EEC to establish a permanent channel for the exchange of information with the SCO countries, primarily with China. This is necessary for more accurate management of cargo flows and the organization of the effective operation of border crossings.

On food security in EAEU

The president believes it necessary to improve the work on unification of requirements related to the circulation of agricultural products, to actively introduce innovative approaches in the agro-industrial complex.

“It is extremely important for us to meet the needs of our union in food of our own production. We can do this. For this purpose, out farmers need to have their own high-quality seed material,” the Belarusian leader added.

On the international positioning of the EAEU

"Our geopolitical opponents are trying to isolate us from advanced technologies and premium markets, to restrain our development. But, despite this, we are consistently moving forward," the President said.

He recalled the full-fledged trade agreement with Iran. The EAEU has been building mutually beneficial cooperation with promising friendly countries: Indonesia, the UAE, Mongolia. 

"However, the work on partnerships with third countries, in our opinion, needs to be systematized. In the current geo-economic realities, it is necessary to clearly understand with which countries, in what sequence and in what time frame we will form a free trade zone, and with which potential partners we will limit ourselves to interaction within the framework of memorandums," the head of state said.

He also believes that so far the EAEU has paid insufficient attention to dialogue with the African continent. "Africa needs a wide range of our goods, works, services and technologies," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Africa, like Latin America, has had enough of colonialism from the respective countries. This is the moment when we must come to Africa."

Also, the participation of the EAEU countries and partners in the Commonwealth of Independent States in the SCO and BRICS opens up huge advantages.

"But we should not forget about our closest neighbors, friends, brothers. Interaction with the EAEU observer states and the CIS countries should be in the zone of constant and close attention," the Belarusian leader added.

On Russia's role in strengthening partnership

“Active efforts of the Russian Federation to advance and strengthen our partnership have never been more important,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the Russian side as a whole for the warm welcome and for the excellent organization of the summit. “It is your first major international conference [after inauguration the day before]. And certainly we will not fail you in this regard,” the Belarusian leader assured.

The president also seized the occasion to congratulate participants of the summit on another anniversary of the heroic Victory of the Soviet nation in the Great Patriotic War.
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