Working visit of President Serzh Sargsyan to Russian Federation
President Serzh Sargsyan participated at the session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council held in Saint Petersburg.
Among the leaders of other EEU member states at the session, which is taking place at the B. Yeltsin Presidential Library, there are the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev, the President of the Republic Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambaev, and the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. Present at the session was also the Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tigran Sarkissian.
The President of the host country Vladimir Putin before taking up the agenda items welcomed the participants in the northern capital of Russia, spoke briefly about the works carried out in the framework of the Union on a number of directions, most significant decisions, as well as about the prospective programs of development. The President of the Russian Federation expressed hope that the results of today’s meeting will enhance the economic cooperation of the member states in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union.
At the beginning of the session, the leaders of the states expressed condolences to the President of the Russian Federation on the crash of the Tu-154 aircraft, which took yesterday in Sochi, and a large number of victims.
In accordance with the Charter, the session is chaired by the leader of the country which is currently presiding at the Organization – the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev. In the framework of the agenda items, the leaders of the member states discussed and signed the EEU Tax Code Agreement, issues related to the main areas of integration in the framework of the EEU, and common market of services of the Union. At the meeting, the parties also signed the agreements related to the development of cooperation in the framework of the EEU with Iran, India, Egypt, and Singapore, as well as issues related to the international activities of the Union in 2017.
In 2017, the Republic of Kyrgyzstan will assume the presidency at EEA.
Statement of the President of Armenia at the session of the Eurasian Economic Supreme Council
Distinguished President Putin, please once again accept my condolences.
Our today’s meeting provides a good opportunity to recap the two-year activities of the Eurasian Economic Union, to disclose our achievements which, in our opinion, are quite a few. I believe it is necessary to focus on the contentious issues which hamper comprehensive activities of our common economic area. Of course, it would be desirable to discuss these pressing issues in the presence of all our partners.
I would like to share with you our assessment of the Union’s this year activities. The fact that the decrease of the mutual trade pace is slowing down is positive; dynamics in industry and agricultural production are positive too. I believe a number of decisions adopted with regard to the pharmaceuticals and medical goods, liberalization of 20 sectors in the area of services until year 2025 as well as the concepts on the common markets of gas, oil, and oil products will manifest themselves soon or in a midterm prospective.
Because of the Eurasian integration project, we have been able to considerably mitigate destructive consequences of the external economic shocks which in the absence of the Union’s internal market would have had a greater impact on the economies of the member states. The member states with small economies enjoy the “scale” effect which works for the local producers and for the country’s positioning on the international market.
Among other noteworthy accomplishments of our Organization, I would like also to mention the fact that the rotation mechanism for high officials was put in place and has been working properly. I believe I would express a common opinion by stating that our concerns with regard to the expediency and efficiency of such step are now behind us.
All charter bodies of the Organization are working in a proper regime and pretty actively which is testified to by our today’s agenda.
Along with all this, from the viewpoint of responding to social and economic challenges, the potential of the Union is not being fully utilized. As a result, expectations of the citizens related to the creation and functioning of the Union as well as its participation in the modernization and raising the standard of living remain unfulfilled. The legal base has been partly formed only but the restrictions on the use of the integration potential still remain which, in our opinion, does not allow to respond efficiently to the worsening situation with the global economy. Thus, despite impressive achievements, many problems remain unresolved.
In our view, the Union should move forward on two pivotal directions. First, the elimination of the obstacles for the total liberalization of the “four freedoms” and development of integration within the Union. Second, the most efficient engagement of the national economies of the member states and of the Union in general in the global trade system. These two areas complement each other. It is obvious that without a productive cooperation within the Union, the international position of our integration union will be complicated.
In this context, the adoption of the Customs Code is a considerable step on our road towards a greater integration since is outlines a transition towards unified customs regulations on the entire territory of the economic union. It is important that the new Code defines progressive approaches, in line with the international standards. The approaches will facilitate the border crossing for goods within the Eurasian Economic Union, will make it transparent, including also through the introduction of the electronic system of declaring goods which is our objective.
On this, I would like to say the following: while switching from this to that system of administration, it is necessary to relieve the businesses of extra paperwork and strive to combine the principles of necessity and sufficiency.
The problem of liberalization of the sectors trading in services is also pressing for the Armenian side. In the area of state services, we are making consistent efforts to use the “one window” principle and we have registered impressive results in this area with regard to a constructive cooperation between the state and private sectors. We are ready to introduce a common electronic platform in the area of state services and to share our experience of using it with our partners.
In our country, the sector of information technologies is among the leading ones; considerable experience has been accumulated which is important to use in the process of digitalization of the sectors of economy for the formation of the digital market of the Union.
To achieve results in participating in the global labor division and development of the digital economy, it is necessary to have an important voice. For that very reason we are interested in the introduction through the synchronized efforts, design and implementation of the joint programs for the development of the strategic areas of the EEA economy. In our opinion, it can be most required in the areas of transportation, logistics, energy, agriculture, initiatives in the area of microelectronics. Armenia is ready to bring her active participation to these processes.
I would like to stress in particular the importance of the implementation of a common transportation policy. Armenia faces a pressing issue of having un uninterrupted link with the countries members of the Eurasian Economic Union. In the absence of a common border with the EEA member states, our transportation connections are made through the territory of Georgia, Upper Lars border check point. Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons such as weather conditions, red tape, activities of that check point stall from time to time which causes considerable losses for the businesses. With this regard, we attach great importance to the creation of a special lane for the vehicles which belong to the EEA member states; it will considerably facilitate the transportation of cargo. This will give the business communities of our countries the real feeling of the usefulness of the Union.
With regard to a common transportation policy, I would like to mention that the priority with the already existing and to be newly created transport corridors should be given first of all to those who are traveling via the EEA member states, while their list should be formed based on the proposals presented by the countries. The routes should promote the utmost engagement of the EEA member states in the regional and international infrastructure corridors and cooperation programs.
I would like to switch to the topic of the international activities of the EEA. It is gratifying that the interest towards our Union in the world is growing. Throughout the year actively have been debated issues on cooperation with China, Iran, India, Singapore and other countries. It will undoubtedly expand the possibilities for the international involvement and will raise the role of the Union on the international arena.
I would like to refer especially to Iran’s cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union. During the recent official visit of the President of Iran Rouhani to Armenia, we have discussed in detail the prospects of deepening trade and economic relations between the EEA and Iran, including the creation of a free trade zone.
In particular, presented were the wide opportunities for the mutually beneficial cooperation which will be open for the economic entities of our countries and Iran.
The President of Iran expressed interest in signing an interim agreement with the EEA which will result in the creation of a free trade zone.
Armenia is actively supporting the process of negotiations between the Eurasian Economic Commission and Iran striving to sign such agreement as soon as possible.
At the same time, we have discussed programs on the creation of an international transportation and transit corridor linking the Persian Gulf and Black Sea. Armenia is the only member of the Union which has a land border with Iran, and we stress the importance of developing transportation and logistics infrastructure, including the currently going on construction of the North-South corridor which for our partners in the framework of the EEA will create a safe and convenient route towards the Persian Gulf and from there an exit to the Indian Ocean.
Distinguished State Leaders,
In conclusion, I would like to express hope that through our joint efforts we will not only overcome financial and economic difficulties but enforcing the Union from within will raise the international standing of our integration Union.
I am confident that the EEA has a promising future which will undoubtedly serve for the economic development of our countries and prosperity of our citizens.
I thank you for your attention.
At the northern capital of the Russian Federation Saint Petersburg, after the session of the Supreme Council of the Eurasian Economic Union there took place a session of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in which President Serzh Sargsyan participated together with the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
The leaders of the member states discussed the current international issues and challenges, the ongoing activities of the Organization, and forthcoming programs.
Because of the absence of the President of Belarus and lack of a quorum, the issue related to the appointment of the Secretary General of the CSTO was postponed until the next session of the Collective Security Council which will take place in April, 2017.