"Greater Eurasia": opportunities for cooperation between the EAEU and China
The participants in the discussion “New Geopolitical Contours in Eurasia: Aligning the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and the EAEU Development Concept" at the 11th Gaidar Forum discussed the main risks and opportunities offered by the creation of a single Eurasian space.
The Belt and Road Initiative was formed in China about five years ago. As stated by the CPR President Xi Jinping, the project was built on the principles of political communication, infrastructural interconnectedness, unhindered trade, financing, and communication between the peoples of the countries that participate in it.
At the session, speakers from Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan discussed how the Chinese initiative can be aligned with the EAEU development, affecting regional security, and which mechanisms aimed at deepening of trade, economic and investment cooperation between the SCO and the EAEU are the most promising today. In addition, the agenda included issues of increase of the efficiency of the joint projects implementation in the fields of science and education.
The discussion was moderated by Jiang Siyuan, Head of the Secretariat of the Exchange and Cooperation Center at the SCO Legal Services Committee. He outlined one of the main principles of the work of international organizations, "An ideal situation is when there is no disagreement between the participants. To have this, you must pre-establish the rules of cooperation. It’s also worthwhile to understand that the parties may disagree and argue not only on legal issues, but also because of the difference in cultures."
Anton Kudasov, Director of the Department of Trade Policy of the Eurasian Economic Commission, noted that the EAEU and China already have an agreement in the field of international trade in favor of the efficient implementation of the Belt and Road initiative. However, so far it does not give preferences to participants in international economic activity, the expert noted. "But the EAEU is ready to move on. A few days ago, Chairman of the Supreme Economic Council, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko made specific proposals to promote the liberalization of the trade regime between the EAEU and China. At the Eurasian Commission, we expect that this will be positively received by the leaders of the governments of other countries and that they are ready for such work."
Alikhan Baymenov, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Regional Hub in the Public Service in Kazakhstan, emphasized that the Belt and Road Initiative generally coincides with the start of the implementation of the sustainable development goals adopted by the UN General Assembly. Thus, its combination with the work of the EAEU can give a synergistic effect for the economies of the states, "A huge contribution is being made to the creation of infrastructural opportunities for implementation of the 2030 sustainable development goals. It is also important when attempts are made to align regional integration initiatives, regional and national infrastructure projects with the Chinese initiative."
Vice-Rector, Director of the Institute for Finance and Sustainable Development, RANEPA Andrei Margolin said that the World Bank positively assessed the Chinese initiative, "According to the forecast, due to its development, 7.6 million people will be removed from absolute poverty in the participating countries, 32 million will get rid of poverty, and foreign trade turnover will grow by 2.8–9.7%. The volume of world trade will rise by 1.7–6.2%, incomes of the population will increase by 0.7–2.9%."
Participants in the discussion also noted that aligning with the Belt and Road Initiative will allow us to talk about "Greater Eurasia". In this context, the Northern Sea Route, which may become a part of the global Eurasian project and bring tremendous economic benefits, is of particular importance.
The 11th Gaidar Forum “Russia and the World: Challenges of the New Decade” is being held at RANEPA on January 15 and 16, 2020. The forum is focused on the goals of national and global development and the search for practical answers to the most pressing challenges of our time. The forum is attended by ministers of the Government of the Russian Federation, members of the Federal Assembly, governors of the Russian regions, prominent international experts, and representatives of foreign states.
The organizers of the 11th Gaidar Forum are the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia.
The title partners of the Gaidar Forum are PJSC Gazprom and JSC Gazprombank. The strategic partners are Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Russian Railways, Pharmstandard group of companies, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Novartis group of companies, MSD, AKIG group of companies, EF Education First. Partners are Prosveshchenie group of companies, EY, Huawei, RVC JSC, Russian Agricultural Bank JSC.
The title information partners of the Gaidar Forum are the Russia-24 TV channel, TASS, RBC, Business FM. The strategic information partners are Kommersant Publishing House, Interfax, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Invest-Forsythe magazine, Federal Press Agency. The main information partners are Anews.com, Gazeta.Ru, Lenta.Ru, News.ru, Profile. International partners are RT, ThomsonReuters, Sputnik, EFE, Cision, Pan Pacific Agency. Information partners are Snob media project, AEI PRIME, RNS, Expert magazine, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, Polit.ru, Ekho Moskvy radio station, PRO Business TV channel, FINAM.RU information and analytical agency, Davydov.Index, Strategiya magazine, Ekonomika i Zhizn newspaper, Econs portal, Gosudarstvennaya Sluzhba magazine, TV BRICS.