Eurasian Economic Union to Sign Free Trade Deals with Egypt, Iran, India and Singapore
The Moscow backed Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), often described as Russia’s equivalent to the EU, is poised to sign off Free Trade Agreements with Egypt, Iran, India and Singapore. The EAEU, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kygryzstan and Russia covers the bulk of the Eurasian land mass and is geographically placed between the European Union and China. The EAEU has a population of some 183 million and a GDP of some US$5 Trillion. Intra-EAEU trade has been significantly increasing and rose 38 percent last year. Vietnam signed off a FTA two years ago, while China signed off a non-preferential FTA with the EAEU last year.
Announcing the EAEU Free Trade talks progress, Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Industry Sergey Tsyb said that WTO member states currently use over 7,500 non-tariff measures such as quotas, licenses, restrictions and embargos in respect of industrial goods. Israel will also be joining the EAEU in the near future, according to his comments. “It would be very productive if we actively move towards the conclusion of agreements on the free-trade zone. This would make it possible to promote exports within the framework of regional trade hubs, and will definitely help in this challenging and highly sensitive situation on global markets to provide the opportunity for promotion of Russian export initiatives.”
The EAEU also includes Moldova as an observer state, while Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Syria and Tunisia are also all reportedly planning to join the union. Other Asian nations, including Indonesia and Turkey are also negotiating FTA with the Union. Thailand upgraded its trade ties with the EAEU earlier this year.
“Sanctions have energized Russia to look elsewhere for new markets” says Chris Devonshire-Ellis of Dezan Shira & Associates, “And for the first time since the Imperial era is actively involved in the development and fermenting of trade on a global scale. The EAEU is a bedrock of Russia’s own future development and will emerge as a major player along with China’s Belt & Road Initiative.”
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