January 1, 2012 launched the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The integration processes, Vladimir Putin says in an article written specially for “News”
Photo: RIA Novosti
January 1, 2012 launched a major integration project – the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The project, which, without exaggeration, a historic landmark not only for our three countries, but also for all post-Soviet states.
The path to this point has been difficult and sometimes tortuous. It started twenty years ago, when after the collapse of the Soviet Union was established Commonwealth of Independent States. By and large, has been found that the model that helped save civilization myriad, and spiritual threads that unite our peoples. Preserve industrial, economic and other ties, which are indispensable to imagine our life.
There are various ways to assess the effectiveness of the CIS, endlessly talking about his domestic problems, the unfulfilled expectations. But it’s hard to argue with the fact that the Commonwealth is an indispensable mechanism to bridge positions and to develop a unified view on the key issues facing our region, and produces a visible, concrete benefits to all participants.
Moreover, this experience has allowed us to run a CIS multilevel and multispeed integration in post-Soviet space, to create such popular formats as the Union State of Russia and Belarus, the Organization of Collective Security Treaty, the Eurasian Economic Community Customs Union and finally, the Single Economic Space.
Characteristically, during the global financial crisis forced the state to seek new resources for economic growth, integration processes have received an additional boost. We have reached that objective, to seriously upgrade the principles of our partnership – both in the CIS and other regional associations. And focused primarily on the development of trade and production links.
In essence we are talking about turning integration into a clear, appealing to citizens and business, sustainable and long-term project, which is independent of fluctuations in the current political and any other conditions.
Note that such a task was set at creation in 2000 of the EurAsEC. And ultimately, it is the logic of close, mutually beneficial cooperation and common understanding of the strategic national interests resulted in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to form the Customs Union.
July 1, 2011 at the internal borders of our three countries has been removed control over the movement of goods, which completed the formation of a full common customs area with clear prospects for implementing the most ambitious business initiatives. Now, from the Customs Union we step to the single economic space. Create a huge market with more than 165 million consumers, with a uniform law, free movement of capital, services and labor.
It is crucial that the SES will be based on concerted action in key institutional areas – macroeconomics, to ensure the rules on competition in the field of technical regulations and agricultural subsidies, transport and tariffs of natural monopolies. And then – and on a single visa and migration policy that would eliminate border controls at internal borders. That is a creative experience to apply the Schengen acquis, which became a boon not only for Europeans but for all who come to work, study or relax in the EU.
I should add that now do not need technical arrangement of seven thousand kilometers of the Russian-Kazakh border. Moreover, it created a qualitatively new conditions for increased cross-border cooperation.
For the citizens of the removal of migration, border control and other barriers, so-called “labor quotas” will mean the opportunity to choose without any restrictions where you live, be educated, to work. Incidentally, in the Soviet Union – with its Institute for registration – such freedom was not.
In addition, we significantly increase the volume of goods for personal consumption, which can be imported duty free, thus saving people from humiliating checks at customs posts.
Ample opportunities opened for business. Talking about the new and dynamic markets, which will act uniform standards and requirements for goods and services, and in most cases with the European harmonized. This is important because now we all go to the current technical regulations, and consistent policy will allow us to avoid the technology gaps, inconsistencies trivial products.Moreover, each of our countries, companies in every state – member of the SES will actually enjoy all the benefits of local producers, including access to government contracts, and contracts.
Naturally, in order to gain a foothold in such an open market, businesses have to work on their efficiency, cut costs, invest in modernization. Consumers will benefit from this.
However, we can speak about the beginning of this “competition of jurisdictions,” the struggle for the entrepreneur. After all, every Russian, Kazakh, Byelorussian businessman gets the right to choose – which of the three countries he register his company, where to do business, where do the customs clearance of goods. This is a strong incentive for national bureaucracies to do the improvement of market institutions, administrative procedures, improving business and investment climate. In short, to eliminate those “bottlenecks” and spaces, to which had never reached his hands, to improve the legislation in line with best international and European practice.
At one time, Europeans took 40 years to go from the European Coal and Steel Community to the full EU. Becoming a Customs Union and Common Economic Space is much more dynamic as takes into account experience of the EU and other regional associations. We see them and the strengths and weaknesses. And this is our distinct advantage, allowing to avoid mistakes and prevent the reproduction of various bureaucratic canopies.
We are also in constant contact with leading business associations in the three countries.Discussing controversial issues, consider the constructive criticism. In particular, it was a very useful discussion during the Business Forum of the Customs Union, which was held in Moscow in July this year.
I repeat: it is very important to the public in our countries, the entrepreneurs perceived the integration project, not as terminal bureaucratic game, but as absolutely a living organism, a good opportunity to implement initiatives and achieve success.
Thus, in the interests of businesses have already decided to begin the codification of the legal framework of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space that economic actors do not have to wade through the “forest” of many paragraphs, articles and reference rules. For the work they will only need two basic documents – the Customs Code and codified the agreement on Customs Union and Common Economic Space.
From 1 January 2012 to earn a full format and the Court of the EurAsEC. Appeal to the Court of all facts relating to discrimination, breach of competition rules and equal conditions for business, can not only states but also the participants of economic life.
The principal feature of the Customs Union and the EEA – a presence of supra-national structures.They are also fully applies to such a basic requirement, such as minimizing red tape and focus on the real interests of the citizens.
In our view, should increase the role of the Customs Union, which already has significant powers. At present there are about forty, and in the future – even within the EEA – will be more than a hundred.This includes the authority to make some decisions on competition policy in technical regulations on subsidies. To solve such complex problems is only possible by creating a complete, permanent structure – a compact, professional and effective. Therefore, Russia has put forward a proposal to create the College of the CCC with the participation of representatives of the “troika” that will work in the capacity of independent, international civil servants.
Construction of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space lays the groundwork for the formation of the future of the Eurasian Economic Union. At the same time would go and the gradual expansion of the Customs Union member states and the EEA at the expense of a full connection to the work of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
We do not dwell on it and set ourselves an ambitious goal: to get to the next higher level of integration – the Eurasian Union.
What we see them, and outlines the prospects of this project?
First, we are not talking about that in one form or another to recreate the Soviet Union. It would be naive to try to restore or copy what already is past, but the tight integration of the new value, political and economic basis – is imperative.
We propose a model of a powerful supranational union capable of becoming one of the poles of the modern world and play the role of an effective “binding” between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. In particular, this means that on the basis of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space should proceed to a closer coordination of economic and monetary policy, to create a full-fledged economic union.
Addition of natural resources, capital, strong human capital will allow the Eurasian Union, to be competitive in the industrial and technological race in the competition for investors, with the creation of new jobs and innovative industries. And along with other key players and regional agencies – such as the EU, U.S., China and APEC – to ensure the sustainability of global development.
Second, the Eurasian Union will serve as a center for further integration. That is, will be formed by the gradual merging of the existing structures – the Customs Union and Common Economic Space.
Third, it would be a mistake to oppose the Eurasian Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Each of these structures has its place and its role in post-Soviet space. Russia and its partners will actively work on improving the institutions of the Commonwealth, the saturation of its practical agenda.
In particular, we are talking about starting a CIS-specific, understandable, attractive initiatives and joint programs. For example, in energy, transportation, technology, social development. Great prospects for humanitarian cooperation in science, culture, education, the interaction in the regulation of labor markets, create a civilized environment for migration. We got a large inheritance from the Soviet Union – this infrastructure, and current production specialization, and general linguistic, scientific and cultural space. Share this resource for development – in our common interest.
In addition, I am convinced that the economic foundation of the Commonwealth to become the most liberalized trade regime. On Russia’s initiative – as part of its presidency of the CIS in 2010 – a draft of a new treaty on free trade area, based, incidentally, on the principles of the World Trade Organization and is aimed at the full withdrawal of all sorts of barriers. We look forward to significant progress in the harmonization of positions on the Treaty at a regular meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of Government to be held very soon – in October 2011.
Fourth, the Eurasian Union – is an open project. We welcome the accession of other partners, notably the Commonwealth countries. It is not going to rush anyone or push. This should be a sovereign decision of the state dictated by its own long-term national interests.
Here I would like to touch on one, in my opinion, very important topic. Some of our neighbors to explain the reluctance to participate in the advanced integration projects in the former Soviet space that is allegedly contrary to their European choice.
I think this is a false bifurcation. We’re not going to fence themselves off from anyone and anyone to resist. Eurasian alliance will be based on universal principles of integration as an integral part of Greater Europe, united by common values of freedom, democracy and the market laws.
Back in 2003, Russia and the EU agreed to form a common economic space, the coordination rules of economic activity without creating a supranational structures. In support of this idea, we asked the Europeans together to think about creating a harmonious community economies from Lisbon to Vladivostok, on free trade zone and even more advanced forms of integration. On the formation of a coherent policy in the sphere of industry, technology, energy, education and science. And finally, the lifting of visa barriers. These proposals do not hang in the air – they are discussed in detail their European counterparts.
Now interlocutor with the EU will be Customs, and subsequently the Eurasian Union. Thus, the occurrence of a Eurasian Union, in addition to direct economic benefits that will allow each of its members more quickly and in a stronger position to integrate into Europe.
In addition, economically logical and balanced system of partnerships of the Eurasian Union and the EU is able to create real conditions for changes in the geopolitical and geo-economic configuration of the continent and would undoubtedly positive global impact.
It is obvious today that the global crisis that erupted in 2008, wore a structural nature. We now see his acute relapses. The root of the problem – a backlog of global imbalances. It is very difficult to develop a process of post-crisis model of global development. For example, virtually stalled Doha round, there are objective difficulties within the WTO, is experiencing a serious crisis of the principle of free trade and open markets.
In our opinion, the solution may be to develop common approaches, as they say, “bottom”. At first – within the existing regional structures – the EU, NAFTA, APEC, ASEAN and others, and then – through a dialogue between them. It is from such integration “building blocks” may get more stable world economy.
For example, two of the largest union of our continent – the European Union and the emerging Eurasian Union – basing their interaction on the rules of free trade and compliance management systems, objective, including through the relations with third countries and regional bodies are able to extend these principles to the whole space – from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. On the space that will be harmonious in its economic nature, but polycentric in terms of specific mechanisms and management decisions. Then it would be logical to begin a constructive dialogue on the principles of interaction with the Asia-Pacific, North America and other regions.
In this regard, I note that the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have already started talks on creating free trade zone with the European Free Trade Association. The agenda of the APEC forum to be held next year in Vladivostok, will occupy an important place theme of trade liberalization, removing barriers to economic cooperation. Moreover, Russia will promote a common, coordinated position of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space.
Thus, our integration project is entering a qualitatively new level, opens up broad prospects for economic development, creates a competitive advantage. Such joint efforts will enable us not only to fit into the global economy and trading system, but also to participate meaningfully in decision-making process, defining the rules of the game and define the contours of the future.
I am convinced that the creation of a Eurasian Union, seamless integration – this is the way to enable its participants to take their rightful place in the complex world of the XXI century. Only by working together our countries are able to enter the leaders of global growth and civilization progress, success and prosperity.