APR News

Supreme Eurasian Economic Council expanded meeting

The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council was held on 6 December 2018 in St. Petersburg.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin who chaired a meeting noted, the combined GDP of the EAEU member states increased by 2 percent in January-June. Industrial production has grown by 3.3 percent and agricultural output by 2.4 percent.

The EAEU’s positions in international rating have improved, including in Doing Business 2018, where it has moved up to the 31st place. In 2017, we ranked 40th among the world’s 190 economies.

A regulatory and institutional framework has been developed for the launch of the EAEU unified digital space. The Union’s 2019 budget, which we will adopt today, includes significant funds for the implementation of large digital projects.

In September, representatives of central banks signed an agreement on harmonising legislation related to financial markets. This was a big step towards forming a common financial space.

Russian President suggested discussing the issue of creating a common calculating structure using modern financial technology in the Union. It would allow to improve the stability of our countries’ national payment systems and make them less dependent on the US dollar and other foreign currencies and increase economic sovereignty.


Kazakhstan: Staff Concluding Statement of an IMF Staff Visit

On 28 November 2018, the IMF staff issued a concluding statement describes the preliminary findings at the end of an official staff visit in Kazakhstan. The IMF staff team visited Kazakhstan during November 6-14, 2018 to review developments, prospects, and policies. Discussions focused on the outlook and risks, monetary policy and operations, the financial sector, budget execution, the 2019 budget, the fiscal framework, and structural reforms. The team thanks the authorities and other counterparts for excellent cooperation and productive discussions.
According to the document, an economic growth in the country was strong in the first half of 2018 at 4.2 percent, led by manufacturing, oil, and a recovery of credit growth. With base effects from high growth in late 2017, the team forecasts growth of 3.7 percent in 2018, and as oil production gains moderate, 3.1 percent in 2019. Inflation has come down to 5.3 percent in October. Stronger exports, especially oil, have supported improvement of the current account. For the medium term, the team projects a pickup of non-oil growth to 4 percent, reflecting structural reforms and financial sector repair. Risks are from lower commodity prices, geopolitical and trade tensions affecting major trading partners, and possible gaps in implementation of reforms.


The 4th Silk Road Forum to take place in Paris

The 4th Silk Road Forum, an international forum on the Belt and Road Initiative, will take place in Paris on Dec 7 and 8, the event organizer announced Nov 27.
The forum was launched in 2014 and is the first international forum on the Belt and Road Initiative held outside the Chinese mainland.
The forum, with the theme of jointly building the Belt and Road and promoting global sustainable development, will discuss the Chinese initiative in connection with issues including building an open world economy, promoting green and low-carbon development, the new round of sci-tech revolution, and inclusive growth, according to the Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council, the event co-organizer.
As of Nov 26, more than 170 guests from over 35 countries have confirmed to attend the event, the DRC said.


The APEC Business Advisory Council`s recommendations are reflected in the APEC Ministerial Statement

The APEC Ministerial Statement released by the PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade after the 26th APEC Leaders` meeting in Port Moresby on 23 November 2018 (in English) contains an annex on Cross Cutting Principles for Non-Tariff Measures. The Principles are derived from the work the APEC Business Advisory Council has done in its Regional Economic Integration Working Group (REIWG) over the last few years, and are a great example of successful ABAC advocacy.


ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Commission sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Cooperation

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) on Economic Cooperation was signed on 14 November in Singapore, on the sidelines of the 3rd ASEAN-Russia Summit. The MOU was signed by the Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi and Chairman of the Board of the EEC Tigran Sargsyan, and witnessed by Leaders of ASEAN Member States as well as Russia.
Realising the importance of developing closer economic interaction between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), in March 2017, ASEAN and the EEC started to develop an MOU on economic cooperation. ASEAN and the EEC finalised the MOU on 1 October 2018. The MOU aims to promote economic cooperation and collaboration, contributing to trade, investment and economic expansion between the Member States of ASEAN and the Member States of the EAEU. The MOU comprises of a total of nine articles which lay the groundwork for enhanced economic cooperation and development of new areas of cooperation (i.e. customs procedures and trade facilitation; sanitary and phytosanitary; technical regulations; e-commerce; trade in services and investment, business development primarily for MSMEs; and other areas to be mutually agreed upon by the participants).


NCC APR Director for Multilateral Cooperation Mr. Sergey Mikhnevich participated in the discussion on the future of Russia-China relationships at the RANEPA

An open discussion “The Eastern Question: The Future of Russia-China Relationships” was held at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) on 21 November 2018. Director for Multilateral Cooperation Sergey Mikhnevich represented the National Coordination Center for Developing Economic Cooperation with the Countries of Asia-Pacific Region (NCC APR) at the event.
The discussion focused on a wide range of issues, including the roles of Russia and China in the modern world; their key interests in the Asia-Pacific region; spheres of Russian-Chinese cooperation; challenges in mutual relations; and cooperation prospects for the next 20 years.
Sergey Mikhnevich emphasized that serious progress has been made in the political relations between the two countries that in 30 years have shifted from confrontation to a close engagement. However, this progress is not accompanied by a comparable strengthening of economic links. Despite a positive dynamics of trade turnover between the two countries, its structure is far from perfectly meeting Russia`s interests. Russian export to China predominantly consists of commodities, Chinese export to Russia – of finished products.


WTO members review regional trade agreements covering EU, Ghana and EAEU

WTO members reviewed the interim Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Ghana at the 19 November meeting of the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements. Members also considered the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) treaty and EAEU accessions of Armenia and the Kyrgyz Republic.
Members also considered three regional trade agreements relating to the EAEU: the EAEU treaty, the accession of Armenia and the accession of the Kyrgyz Republic to the EAEU. The EAEU was established on 1 January 2015, at which time it was composed of Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. Armenia and the Kyrgyz Republic acceded to the EAEU on 2 January 2015 and 12 August 2015 respectively. All EAEU members are part of the WTO, save for Belarus which is in the process of acceding to the organization. Armenia and the Kyrgyz Republic are currently renegotiating their bound tariffs at the WTO to account for changes arising from their accession to the EAEU while Kazakhstan will start doing so in 2023.
The EAEU establishes a common market for goods, services, capital and labour as well as coordinated and agreed policies in different areas such as agriculture, energy and transport services. EAEU members apply a common external tariff to imports from third countries, subject to some exceptions applied by Armenia, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic.
EAEU members spoke of the benefits of their regional integration at the meeting, noting that the market of the union represents 183 million consumers and a combined gross domestic product of US$ 1.8 trillion. The purpose of the EAEU is to increase competitiveness and increase the welfare of its members' populations. Decisions are made by consensus among the EAEU members and an EAEU court resolves disputes among member states. EAEU members also emphasized that their treaties and practices are consistent with WTO rules. Trade with third parties is also a strength for the EAEU and the union has already concluded free trade agreements with Viet Nam. Negotiations are ongoing with Singapore and Israel while those with Egypt and India are expected to start soon.


Korea’s trade volume surpasses USD 1 trillion

Korea’s annual cumulative trade volume exceeded USD 1 trillion, due to increases in high-value added products, diversification of export goods and expansion of newly emerging markets.
According to the statistics reported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and Korea Customs Service (KCS), the annual cumulative trade volume surpassed USD 1 trillion at 1:24 p.m. on Nov. 16. This is the fastest pace of increase, since trade statistics were first recorded in 1957. MOTIE forecasts that the trade volume will further increase to USD 1.1 trillion within this year.
According to the cumulative data, Korea’s 13 major export items, such as memory chips, general machinery, petrochemicals and chemical products, exceeded previous records. The export volume of each item jumped 36.2%, 12.6%, and 15.0%, from January to October from a year ago. The positive growth rate of current global manufacturing industries and the rising oil prices are considered as the main reasons for such results.
Furthermore, the export volume of high-value added products, such as the next-generation storage devices (SSD) and multi-chip module items, have also increased by 13.5% and 33.6%. Increased exports of promising consumer goods, such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, added variety in export items.
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy commented that the government’s effort is what led to such positive records. Despite difficult conditions amid trade conflicts between the U.S. and China, the government expanded the scale of support for export companies, and the trade insurance service for new emerging markets.


Chorus of free trade for humanity: the main results of China International Import Expo (CIIE)

The first China International Import Expo (CIIE) concluded on Saturday with sizable deals signed, signaling China's historic transition from an export powerhouse to an import nation.
Deals for intended purchase of goods and services within a year totaled 57.83 billion U.S. dollars, Sun Chenghai, deputy director of the CIIE Bureau, told a news conference after the expo wrapped up.
Deals for high-end intelligent equipment reached over 16.46 billion dollars, followed by 12.68 billion dollars of food and agricultural products, 11.99 billion dollars of automobiles, 5.76 billion dollars of medical equipment and health care products, 4.33 billion dollars of consumer electronics and appliances, and 3.37 billion dollars of apparel, accessories and consumer goods, Sun said, adding that the value of deals for services hit 3.24 billion dollars.
This type of event could facilitate the mission of building a community of a shared future for humanity, in which common development of all nations could be realized. Every country makes money, the wealth gap is bridged and all nations prosper.
At the opening ceremony of the expo, Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored the role of economic globalization, saying that it is an irreversible historical trend and provides strong momentum for world economic development.
The import expo has served as a platform to inspire cooperation in international free trade in unprecedented depth and width. It is not China's solo show, but rather a chorus involving countries from around the world.
The first CIIE is a new propellant driving China's import agenda. In the next 15 years, China expects to import 30 trillion U.S. dollars worth of goods and 10 trillion U.S. dollars worth of services. Last year, China's total imports rose 15.9 percent to hit 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars.


The Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 deliverables for 2018 and ASEAN Connectivity Microsite launched

The ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) launched three Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 priority deliverables and the ASEAN Connectivity microsite at the 22nd ACC Meeting.
The MPAC 2025 aims to achieve a seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated ASEAN to promote competitiveness, inclusiveness, and a greater sense of ASEAN Community. Although MPAC 2025 is a multi-year roadmap that is currently in the early stages of implementation, it has made substantive progress across its five Strategic Areas; namely Sustainable Infrastructure, Digital Innovation, Seamless Logistics, Regulatory Excellence, and People Mobility.
During its Chairmanship of the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC), Singapore has identified three priority deliverables. One, the establishment of a rolling priority pipeline of ASEAN infrastructure projects to attract more public and private investments into infrastructure in ASEAN. Together with the World Bank, ASEAN expects to develop an initial list of priority ASEAN infrastructure projects by the first quarter of 2019.
Two, the development of a sustainable urbanisation strategy for ASEAN, with city specific-action plans and tool kits for cities to use as a template to mitigate urban challenges. The projects were developed by the ACCC and the Lead Implementing Body for Sustainable Infrastructure (LIB-SI), with the support of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Programme (AADCP) Phase II.
Three, the study on the adoption of digital technology by micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to ascertain how to encourage more regional MSMEs to use digital technology as an enabler to increase their capacities and amplify their reach as we move into the fourth industrial revolution. The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) is supporting the study.
In his remarks, the Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan expressed satisfaction at the tangible progress made by MPAC 2025 in the current year, and explained that the three priority deliverables were selected to address important challenges facing ASEAN; namely, infrastructure development, urbanisation, and promotion of MSMEs, which account for between 95 to 99% of businesses in ASEAN.