We should concentrate as much as possible on removing trade barriers in EEU — Alikhan Smailov

Proposals to further strengthen cooperation of the EEU countries in priority sectors of the economy were voiced by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov at the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in enlarged composition, held in Almaty. 

The event was attended by Prime Ministers Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia and Roman Golovchenko of Belarus, Akylbek Japarov, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers – Head of the Presidential Administration of Kyrgyzstan, Mikhail Mishustin, Chairman of the Russian Government, Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission, as well as representatives of EEU observer states: Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov and Ambassador of Cuba to Russia Julio Antonio Garmendia Peña.

In his speech, Alikhan Smailov noted the positive dynamics of the organization's economic indicators for last year. Thus, the volume of industrial production amounted to $1.5 trillion, including in Kazakhstan more than $100 billion with an increase of 1.1%. In addition, the volume of agricultural production increased by more than 5% (in Kazakhstan it was over 9%).

"At the same time, I believe that these figures do not correspond to the real potential of the Eurasian Economic Union. We need to focus as much as possible on practical implementation of the Development Strategy until 2025 and the EEU Treaty. First of all, it's the elimination of barriers to mutual trade," he said.

According to the Prime Minister, there are still elements of customs control at internal borders, there is virtually no national treatment in public procurement, sanitary, veterinary and other restrictions. All this prevents businesses from fully experiencing the benefits of the EEU.

In this regard, the formation of seamless trade flows within the Union, as well as accelerated automation of information exchange can give an impetus to the development of transit potential and strengthen cooperation ties.

Alikhan Smailov stressed that Kazakhstan sees the further development of the Eurasian economic integration in general in the creation and implementation of specific economic projects. At the same time, in his opinion, sufficient attention should be paid to agreements in the field of shipping, transit, access to infrastructure, digitalization of government procurement, as well as the full functioning of the alcohol and tobacco markets.

"This is not a complete list of issues that need to be addressed," he said. 

Prime Minister also stressed the importance of taking systematic measures to ensure the affordability of food for the population. This is especially urgent in view of the breakdown of production chains and unprecedented frosts in the supplier countries of early fruits and vegetables, which has already led to a significant increase in prices in the food market.

"We need to focus on creating and financing joint food production projects. In particular, greenhouse facilities, feed lots, retail and storage infrastructure. Applied phytosanitary, veterinary and technical measures should not create artificial barriers to mutual trade," Alikhan Smailov said. 

Besides, according to him, against the background of structural changes in the trade of the EEU countries the issues of accelerated movement of goods within the Union without excessive formalities should be solved. As an example the Head of Government cited Kazakhstan's system of traceability of goods. 

"In this regard we propose to provide an opportunity for additional payment of the difference in the amount of customs duties in relation to the Kazakhstani exemptions. I note that such an opportunity is provided in other countries. This, among other things, will give additional revenue in the form of distributed customs duties. I ask the Commission to work on this issue," Prime Minister said.

In conclusion Alikhan Smailov called on the Union's countries to speed up integration of national information systems, which will remove a significant part of barriers to mutual trade and boost transit and foreign trade processes.

"We have created the EEU as an open, equal integration union, based on the search for compromise mutually beneficial solutions. We are confident that the implementation of the fundamental principles of the Union will allow us to make full use of the joint potential for improving the well-being of the peoples of our countries," he concluded. 

Following the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council, the Heads of Government of the EEU countries signed a number of documents on ensuring sustainable economic development, implementing accelerated railway and multimodal transportation of food, developing an integrated information system, etc.

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