Uzbekistan and Cuba Become Observer States Of The Eurasian Economic Union

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The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) agreed to give Uzbekistan and Cuba observer status on Friday last week (December 11). Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia are full members of the EAEU, while Moldova also has observer status.

Egypt, Iran, Serbia, Singapore and Tajikistan all have Free Trade Agreements with the bloc, as does China, although tariff reduction negotiations with Beijing are still on-going.

The elevation of Cuba to Observer status may be window dressing, however the shift by Tashkent to bring Uzbekistan to observer status is significant, and is expected to be part of the process for bringing the country into the bloc.

Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia and is emerging from 25 years of repressive rule. Signing it up as a member of the EAEU would signify that Uzbek President Shavkat Miriyoyev continues to see Moscow as Uzbekistan’s primary economic partner, despite the overtures of China and Turkey.

The Eurasian Economic Union has an integrated single market of 180 million people and a GDP of over US$5 trillion. It encourages the free movement of goods and services, and provides for common policies in the macroeconomic sphere, transport, industry and agriculture, energy, foreign trade and investment, customs, technical regulation, competition and antitrust regulation. Provisions for a single currency and greater integration are envisioned for the future.

Additional Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the EAEU are continuing with several countries in ASEAN, in addition to India and Turkey.

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Russia Briefing is written by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Eurasia, including China, Russia, India, and the ASEAN nations, assisting foreign investors into the Eurasian region. Please contact Maria Kotova at russia@dezshira.com for Russian investment advisory or assistance with market intelligence, legal, tax and compliance issues throughout Asia.

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