ASEAN member states propose creating free trade zones with the EAEU
19 May 2016

ASEAN member states propose creating free trade zones with the EAEU

Trade turnover between Russia and the ASEAN member states increased by 20 percent in the first quarter of 2016, Russian First Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexei Likhachyov said, addressing the ASEAN — Russia Business Forum.

According to Mr Likhachyov, ASEAN is the only association that indicated a positive dynamic in imports to Russia in the first three months of 2016. "Russia does not have positive trade dynamics, in this year's first quarter, with any other group of countries or regional association whereas imports from ASEAN member states have grown in dollar terms, the most accurate estimate," he said.

Yet, despite the positive dynamics, there are some problems in certification and customs administration. We need to work harder to create preferential trade agreements, the official emphasised.

There are a number of potential joint projects that require special support. "The potential for growth is there, and joint investments can grow many times over if we make more effort to support our companies' projects on a bilateral basis," Mr Likhachyov said. In particular, businesspeople are raising the issue of establishing special economic zones and free trade zones.

The Eurasian Economic Commission's Minister of Trade, Veronika Nikishina, noted that a number of ASEAN countries have come up with an initiative to create free trade zones with the Eurasian Economic Union. Singapore and Cambodia have already submitted requests to this effect with the EAEU. In response, Belarus has suggested that a free trade zone be established between the EAEU and Indonesia. Russia has previously discussed the possibility of creating a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and Thailand.