With five official members and an increasing number of interested partners, the EEU is gaining serious traction
The article originally appeared at RT Deutsch. Translated for RI by Anita Zalaldinova
The ex-Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan has joined as a fifth member to the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union. Members of the Union, which is understood as an economic counterpart to the European Union, are currently Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia. At the same time the Eurasian Economic Union signed a Free Trade Agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In this respect negotiations with China are also underway, India and Turkey show their interest.
After years of political and economic agony Kyrgyzstan's membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EMU) could be an opportunity for the country to benefit from the the dynamics of strong economic blocs such as Russia or Kazakhstan.
With the 5.5 million Turkic inhabitants and with a GDP of 1,300 US dollars per capita Kyrgyzstan is the poorest republic in Central Asia. But ties with Russia, even more than 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, are still very strong. Traditionally, many Kyrgyz people work in Russia as migrant workers. Thus there is always a large amount of foreign Russian currency in this former Soviet republic. For other members, who profit from falling trade restrictions, Kyrgyzstan is a welcome and historically known partner as well. A common Free Trade Agreement underlines the already existing trend.
The government website Kremlin.ru wrote in this regard:
"As a result of the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (SEEC) a number of documents regarding the accession of Kyrgyzstan to the Organization were signed."
In the meantime, all the members of EMU, including Kyrgyzstan, agreed to establish a common electricity market in the future. In addition, it was reported that the transportation of goods across the borders would be liberalized.
Subsequently, the Council of the Eurasian Economic Union stated:
"There are decisions on a joint free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Negotiations with China on an equal venture are already underway. "
Meanwhile, Russia assumes that " more intense trade and investments will continue to strengthen the socio-economic development in the EMU countries. They will also increase the competitiveness of members on the international stage and stimulate the satisfaction of the population in the country. "
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in this regard:
"The Eurasian integration already proved to be effective: The mutual trade between Member States since the creation of the EMU grew by nearly 20 billion US dollars and the trade routes and infrastructure have improved significantly. While trade has increased with knowledge-intensive or industrial products, the traditionally high share of commodity trading has been reduced from 40 to 28.9 percent."
Showing interest in involving new partners in EMU, during the signing ceremony of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev called for involvement of Turkey in the Eurasian economic area. He stated:
"When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Kazakhstan, he expressed Turkey's interest in signing a trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union. We also need to talk about it."
The economic alliance is just a beginning of a great development. "We have established the Eurasian Economic Union, which has grown again today: Armenia was the first member country, now we are welcoming Kyrgyzstan. Despite the fact that trade in the face of numerous crises always lags behind, I am sure that the economic union is promising," Nazarbayev said on Friday during his meeting with Putin. "Look how many countries would like to participate: China also wants a free trade zone. We signed agreements today with Vietnam. Turkey and India want to be with us. In other words: This Union is now appreciated and highly regarded. "
The self-declared goal of the Eurasian Economic Union is to ensure the free movement of goods, services and capital to pursue a coordinated policy in the fields of agriculture and industry to cooperate in large infrastructure projects and to create a common energy markets for natural gas and oil products.