Eurasian Intergovernmental Council discusses economic cooperation in Minsk

ASTANA – Prime ministers of the Eurasian Economic Union member states met Nov. 27 in Minsk, Belarus to discuss economic cooperation, the status of previous agreements and future cooperation.

Tigran Sargsyan, Ararat Mirzoyan, Sergei Rumas, Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Mukhammedkaly Abulgaziev and Dmitry Medvedev (L to R). Photo credit: primeminister.kz.

The Eurasian Intergovernmental Council (EIC) meeting included the prime ministers of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Belarus Sergei Rumas, Kyrgyzstan Mukhammetkaly Abulgaziev, the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev and Acting Prime Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan.

Participants discussed the implementation of the digital agenda, the formation of a common financial market, the principles of tax policy, the creation of a system of marking goods with identification marks, the use of a trademark of the EAEU, the removal of obstacles in the domestic market, among a total of 23 items on the agenda, reported primeminister.kz.

According to the Eurasian Economic Commission, in 2017–2018 approximately 25 restrictions and exemptions in the domestic market that had been impeding the development of mutual trade between EAEU member states were eliminated.

The Nov. 27 gathering also included a meeting in expanded format in which Chairman of the Executive Committee and Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States Sergey Lebedev was invited to participate as a guest.

In that meeting, participants discussed developing cooperation in trade, industry, agriculture, energy, food security and transparency in the movement of goods. The Kazakh side urged expanding the union’s foreign trade and creating a new tool for interaction in the field of economic and financial policy.

Sagintayev also underlined the need to continue to build trade and economic ties with major partners and new growing markets. Building relations with large international organisations, said the Kazakh prime minister, is seen as one of the most promising tracks. For example, the European Union occupies a significant share in the foreign trade of EAEU member countries and this interaction needs to be developed.

Following the meeting, the EIC participants signed documents, including on the system of labelling goods with identification marks and on joint forecasts for the development of the agro-industrial complex.

It was decided that the next EIC meeting will be held in early 2019 in Almaty. Next year will mark 25 years since Kazakh President Nursultan proposed establishing the EAEU and five years since the treaty establishing the union was signed in Astana.

Before the event, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko received the heads of the EIC delegations. The sides noted economic growth within the union and the union’s role in strengthening cooperation between the five member states.