The session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council kicked off on May 14, in the Russian city of Sochi and was attended by the leaders of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). It was the first meeting of the EAEU heads of state in 2018 and Russia was an EAEU chairing country this year.
The participants, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, Nursultan, Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, Sooronbay Jeenbekovand, President of Kyrgystan and Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia discussed cooperation in energy, the digital economy, medicine and the environment, as well as granting the status of observer state to Moldova, the Kremlin said. The meeting was also attended by the President of Moldova Igor Dodon as a representative of a state with observer status in the organization.
During Monday's meeting, Putin hailed the Eurasian Economic Union as a dynamic group and pointed at its economic achievements. According to the Russian leader, in 2017, the GDP of its member countries grew by 1.8%, industrial production grew by 1.7%, and agriculture - by 2.5% Putin also stated that the inflation levels in the five member states dropped by an average 3.1% In his opinion, the state of foreign and local trade also improved, with exports of goods and services to countries outside of the union growing by 24.4%, and mutual trade among the EAEU states surging 26% TASS reported.
(Infographic: RIA NOVOSTI)
"Presiding over EAEU organizations and bodies in 2018, Russia proposed an extensive program of joint action. (...) Serious achievements have been made in many of the above directions. The domestic trade and the supplies of goods and services to the third countries are growing. The structure of exports is improving, the share of products with high added value is expanding. We are creating new joint ventures and launching promising projects. As a consequence, the gross domestic products of all Member States of the Union are rising," Kazinform quoted the President of Russia as saying.
The EAEU was established on January 1, 2015 and includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. The Union is intended to encourage free trade, coordinate the members' financial systems and regulate their industrial and agricultural policies. It has an integrated single market of 183 million people and a gross domestic product of over 4 trillion U.S. dollars (PPP).
Free trade zone between EAEU and Egypt
Negotiations on the creation of a free trade zone (FTA) between the EAEU and Egypt will start in autumn of 2018, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
"The start of negotiations between the EAEU and Egypt on the preparation of an agreement to establish a free trade zone is scheduled for autumn." TASS quoted the top diplomat as saying. "This is a very important, qualitative step for deepening relations between Russia and Egypt, between other members of the EAEU and Egypt," he added.
With reporting by TASS, Kazinform