Enlargement of the Eurasian Economic Union

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Eurasian Economic Union
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The future enlargement of the Eurasian Economic Union is theoretically open to any Post-Soviet states and potentially any country of Europe or Asia. In order to accede, a state must fulfill certain economic and political requirements. Enlargement of the Union is also subject to the consent of all existing members and the candidate's adoption of existing EEU laws and implementing previous decisions made by the Eurasian Economic Commission. The present agenda of the enlargement of the Eurasian Economic Union is primarily focused on Tajikistan.[1] Meanwhile, Moldova was granted Observer Status in April 2017.[2] The process of enlargement is referred to as Eurasian integration or Eurasianism. This term is also used to refer to the intensification of economic cooperation between Eurasian Economic Union member states.

Past enlargement[edit]

Armenia[edit]

In December 2012, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stated that EU, CIS and Eurasian integration need not be mutually exclusive.[3] Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, responded that "if Armenia were to join any customs union, this would not be compatible with concluding a bilateral Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Armenia because a customs union has a common external trade policy and an individual member country no longer has sovereign control over its external trade policies."[4]

Although Armenia completed its negotiations with the European Union (EU) about signing an Association Agreement in July 2013,[5] on 3 September 2013, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan announced in Moscow that Armenia will join the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. A Russian government communique stated that, "Armenia [has] decided to join the Customs Union and take the necessary practical steps to subsequently participate in the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union."[6] This decision was widely described as a "U-turn" by the Western media.[7][8] On 2 October 2013, Sargsyan stated at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe session that Armenia was ready to sign a deal with the EU during the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November 2013, without the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area component of the agreement that contradicts Armenia's membership in the EurAsEC Customs Union.[9][10] This proposal was rejected by the EU and no deal was signed between Armenia and the EU at the summit.[9][11][12] On 9 October 2014 Armenia signed a treaty on its accession to the EEU and became the newest member state on 2 January 2015.[13]

Although Armenia’s trade with EU states far exceeds that with EurAsEC Customs Union members Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan combined, Armenia is dependent on Russia for security.[10] Armenia's alliance with Russia is seen by Armenia as a counterbalance to Azerbaijan’s sharp hike in military spending (Azerbaijan bought tanks, artillery cannons and rocket launchers worth billions of US dollars from Russia in 2011, 2012 and 2013).[10][14] This is seen by Armenia as a threat given that the Nagorno-Karabakh War (an armed conflict that took place from 1991 to May 1994 de facto between Armenia and Azerbaijan) remains unresolved.[10] Russia also has a military base in Armenia.[10]

Support and opposition[edit]

According to a poll conducted by Gallup International Association in October 2013, 64% of Armenians are in favor of Armenia's membership in the union.[15] Of the six factions in the Armenian National Assembly, five have stated their support or their lack of opposition to the Armenian government's decision to join the union.[16] Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Armenia's First President and the leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress, stated during a rally on 1 March 2014 that the decision is irreversible.[17] In a October 2014 rally Ter-Petrosyan reiterated that Armenia's membership is an "irreversible process" and is now a fait accompli. "He never said that the entry is profitable. Instead, he accused those who oppose it of 'adventurism'." He "cited the example of the events in Ukraine, which has lost a lot due to its failure to agree to join the 'New USSR', and the same could also happen to Armenia." Ter-Petrosyan stated: "Is it really so hard to understand that in such a situation our country would simply disappear from the world map? ... Even the West treats Armenia's decision with understanding, while a group of people here are trying to prove the opposite and push for an anti-Russian movement."[18]

Among the most notable opponents of Armenia's membership to the union are the four former foreign affairs ministers: Raffi Hovannisian (1991–92),[19] Vahan Papazyan (1993–96), Alexander Arzumanyan (1996-98) and Vartan Oskanian (1998-2008).[20] Hovannisian, who officially came second in the 2013 presidential election, stated that Armenia's accession to the union "limits its sovereignty."[19] Hovannisian's Heritage party is the only political party in the National Assembly that opposes Armenia's membership in the union.[16] Other significant politicians who have stated their opposition include former Prime Minister Aram Sargsyan[21] and Soviet dissident Paruyr Hayrikyan.[22] Former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan, although not actively opposing the union, stated that Armenia is an "exclave" of the union and is not a "welcomed guest" there.[23]

On February 24, 2017 Tigran Sargsyan, the Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission stated that Armenia's stance was to cooperate and work with both the European Union and the Eurasian Union. Sargsyan added that although Armenia is part of the Eurasian Union, a new European Union Association Agreement between Armenia and the EU would be finalized shortly.[24]

Republic of Artsakh[edit]

The breakaway region of Republic of Artsakh did not enter the Eurasian Union upon Armenia's accession in January 2015. However, the government of Armenia stressed that under no circumstances will a customs checkpoint be set up between Armenia and Artsakh.[25]

Kyrgyzstan[edit]

In October 2011, the acting prime minister of Kyrgyzstan announced that his country will join the union, and that the process had been agreed to with the prime ministers of the other member states.[26] On 11 August 2014, the Kyrgyz president Almazbek Atambayev, met with Russian president Vladimir Putin and stated that Kyrgyzstan plans to join the Eurasian Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union by the end of 2014.[27] Kyrgyzstan signed an accession treaty on 23 December 2014.[28][29][30] It ratified its accession treaty in May 2015, and it came into force on 6 August 2015, when it became the newest member state.[31]

Crimea[edit]

The annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in early 2014 made Crimea a de facto part of the Eurasian Union as a territory of Russia.

Potential future enlargement[edit]

Azerbaijan[edit]

The Azerbaijani minister for the Economy, stated that the country is not prepared to join the union.[32] Azerbaijan's foreign minister reiterated those statements by clarifying that joining the EEU was not currently on the country's agenda. The foreign minister however also reaffirmed the "warm and friendly relations between Russia and Azerbaijan based on mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation" [33]

Azerbaijan's ambassador to Belarus also stated that Armenia's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union would not infringe upon the interests of Azerbaijan. He further stated “for our partners, as well as Azerbaijan, the union opens up great promises. It increases the market by several times and opens up great opportunities for our partners. We are optimistic about the future of this union.” He also expressed hope that the number of participants of the union will increase in the near future.[34]

Georgia[edit]

In September 2013, during an interview, the Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili was open to the possibility of Georgia joining the Customs Union "if it will be advantageous for our country".[35] He later clarified that Georgia's main strategy was still to integrate into the European Union.[36][37] Russia's Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev included Georgia as a prospective member in statements made in August 2013.[38]

Georgia signed a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU in 2014, meaning it has affirmed to move towards EU standards, customs regulations, quality controls and free market competition.[39][40] In response, Sergei Glazyev, a Russian presidential adviser, claimed it was now unlikely that Georgia could become a member of the Eurasian Economic Union.[41]

In December 2015, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin stated that, "Moscow was ready to restore diplomatic relations with Tbilisi."[42] A mutual visa-free system between Georgia and Russia was discussed, as part of the effort to reintroduce relations.[43] In a March 18 interview, foreign minister Mikheil Janelidze said that further integration with the European Union, possible membership in NATO and restoring its international recognized borders are “red lines” in talks with Russia. He also said that, "This [bilateral] dialogue [with Russia] is oriented to find ways to have relations in those areas which are not out of the red lines."[44]

Abkhazia[edit]

In 2014 a proposed treaty between Abkhazia and Russia was announced which would bring the de facto Republic in closer union with Russia and in alignment with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union. Abkhazia would also have to harmonize its tax and customs regulations with those of the Eurasian Economic Union.[45]

South Ossetia[edit]

Like Abkhazia, the breakaway region of South Ossetia has proclaimed its desire to integrate closer with and perhaps join the Eurasian Union.[46]

Moldova[edit]

In 2014, the Moldovan government rejected the idea of Eurasian Economic Union and instead signed the Moldova–European Union Association Agreement, a European Union Association Agreement establishing closer Moldovan–EU ties.[40]

In February 2014, over the objections of the Moldovan central government, the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia (which had about 155,000 at the time) held two referendums on European integration. In one, 98.4% voted in favor of joining the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, while in the second 97.2% opposed further integration with the EU. 98.9% also supported the proposition that Gagauzia could declare independence if Moldova unified with Romania.[47] Many locals in Gagauzia feared that closer EU integration was a step toward the unification of Romania and Moldova, which is unpopular in the autonomous region.[47][48] The referendum was disputed by Moldovan authorities, who termed it unconstitutional,[47] and a challenge to the territorial integrity of Moldova.[48]

In January 2017, newly elected President Igor Dodon said that he intended to have Moldova scrap its trade agreement with the European Union in favour of joining the Eurasian Union. Dodon, the first Moldovan president to visit Russia for nine years, said he had asked Vladimir Putin to look into how Moldova could join Eurasian Economic Union's regulatory body.[49]

On March 22, 2017, the President of Moldova confirmed he has formally initiated the process for granting observer status to Moldova in the Eurasian Union. At the end of May, the member states of the union will analyze Moldova's request, which is the first step towards the country becoming part of the EAEU, said the president.[50]

On April 14, 2017, The President of Moldova confirmed that Moldova became the first Observer member of the Eurasian Union.[2]

Transnistria[edit]

In December 2016, presidential elections took place in the self-proclaimed Republic of Transnistria, a breakaway state that is internationally unrecognized (see political status of Transnistria). In his victory speech, President Vadim Krasnoselsky promised to integrate Transnistria into the Eurasian Economic Union.[51]

Mongolia[edit]

In September 2016, the press service of the Eurasian Economic Commission issued a statement after a meeting attended by Chairman of the Board of the Union Tigran Sargsyan and Ambassador of Mongolia to Russia Banzragch Delgermaa that Mongolia was considering seeking membership in the Eurasian Economic Union.[52][53]

Syria[edit]

In July 2015, Syrian Prime Minister Wael Halqi said that "Negotiations with Russia on joining the Eurasian Union and customs-free zone are being held. We see this as a benefit and strengthening the relations with friendly states, which will facilitate economic and trade cooperation with them", during a meeting in Damascus.[54]

Tajikistan[edit]

Tajikistan plans to join the Customs Union.[55] The country has signed the CIS Free Trade Zone Agreement and is close to ratifying the treaty. A border dispute with EEU member Kyrgyzstan has arisen as a potential obstacle.[56] Support for joining the bloc remains high in Tajikistan, according to polls conducted by the Eurasian Development Bank in October 2016, showed that 68 percent of people quizzed in Tajikistan favored membership.[57]

Turkey[edit]

A statement by the Kazakhstan Presidential Office on the 6 June 2014 said that Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev had extended an invitation to the President of Turkey Abdullah Gül for his country to join the Eurasian Economic Union.[58] The statement was released the day after the fourth summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (Turkic Council) on June 4 and 5 in the Turkish port city of Bodrum. However Turkey presently has a customs agreement with the EU. [citation needed]

Turkmenistan[edit]

Turkmenistan is closely integrated economically with other Central Asian and Commonwealth of Independent States members. However, Turkmenistan has pursued a policy of political isolation and currently has not stated plans to either join or not join the EEU.[59]

Ukraine[edit]

Petro Poroshenko on stage speaking to Euromaidan protesters on 8 December 2013

Membership in the Customs Union[edit]

The former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, stated in November 2010 and March 2012 that Ukraine may join the Customs Union in the future, but that the Constitution of Ukraine did not presently allow them to join.[60][61] However, he also stated in April 2010 that Ukraine would not join the Customs Union.[62] During this time, Ukraine was negotiating an Association Agreement with the European Union[63] which was seen by the EU as being incompatible with Ukraine entering the Customs Union; the latter would end the chances for the AA according to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.[64] Yanukovych at the time stated he wanted to pursue EU membership for Ukraine.[64] In May 2011 Yanukovych stated that Ukraine was "searching for mechanisms of cooperation that will allow us to work with the customs union to the extent which Ukrainian laws and our obligations to world organizations such as the World Trade Organization allow”.[64] Yanukovych would later say that he was in negotiations with Russia to "find the right model" for cooperation with the Customs Union, while simultaneously trying to get Ukraine's agreements with the EU on free trade and political association signed by the EU.[65][66][67][68] He also expressed hope that the AA with the EU would be signed in 2013.[69]

Then Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stated in December 2012 that Ukraine could and should cooperate with both the Customs Union and the European Union at the same time.[70] In January 2013 President Yanukovych stated that he had cancelled a visit to Moscow in December 2012 because his country was not yet ready to join the Customs Union.[71] He further stated that Ukraine was trying to meet the legal requirements of the customs union without harming other international accords and that "experts from both sides [Ukraine and Russia] are currently working on this issue". However, he did not commit Ukraine to joining the union.[71] Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the leader of Batkivshchyna, Ukraine's second largest party, was against Ukraine joining the Customs Union.[72] He stated in December 2012 that "Ukraine's joining the Customs Union means the restoration of the Soviet Union in a slightly different form and with a different name. But this means that the country will become a part of the Russian Empire. We know history. We have been there and we don't want to return there".[73]

On 25 February 2013 President of the European Commission Barroso made it again clear "One country cannot at the same time be a member of a customs union and be in a deep common free-trade area with the European Union".[65] In March 2013 Ukraine and the EU initialled their AA with the EU, which still needed to be signed and ratified before its entry into force.[74] Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) Volodymyr Rybak stated on 7 March 2013 "the Customs Union issue is not being discussed".[75]

A December 2012 poll by Democratic Initiatives Foundation and Razumkov Center, 32% supported Ukraine's accession to the Customs Union.[76]

Observer status of the Customs Union[edit]

Negotiations on granting Ukraine observer status in the Customs Union took place in April/May 2013.[77][78] This status would give Ukraine the right to attend meetings, join the preparation of documents but excludes the right to vote.[79] An association agreement to grant Ukraine an "observer" status was signed on 31 May 2013 in Minsk.[80] Ukraine's status as an observer state was said to not conflict with its then planned AA with the EU.[80] Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stated on 7 June 2013 that "very favorable terms", including "a sharp reduction in gas price and the cancellation of crude oil export duties", had been offered to Ukraine for its accession to the Customs Union, but stressed that its membership of the World Trade Organization, and associated agreements, prevented Ukraine from joining the Customs Union.[81] This status would be abrogated if Ukraine enters the European Union.

Signature of their Association Agreement with the EU[edit]

Yanukovych eventually refused to sign the AA in November 2013,[82] which led to protests that lead to his ousting in February 2014.[83] The new government of Ukraine and the EU signed the AA on 21 March and 27 June 2014.[40][83] On 30 June 2014 Russian presidential aide (for developing the Customs Union)[84] Sergei Glazyev stated that the signing of the EU Association Agreements by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia meant that they could not join the Customs Union or the Common Economic Space. He described it as "a significant loss for us".[41]

Luhansk People's Republic[edit]

Officials of the Luhansk People's Republic, another self-proclaimed breakaway region stated that the Republic would seek cooperation with international bodies in the post-Soviet space, including the Eurasian Union.[85]

Donetsk People's Republic[edit]

The pro-Russian separatists of the War in Donbass rejected Ukrainian EU integration (seeing it as a threat to their interests).[39] One of the results of the War in Donbass was the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic[82] which has expressed an interest in acceding to the Customs Union.[85]

Uzbekistan[edit]

Senate Speaker Ilgizar Sobirov, head of the Uzbekistan parliament's upper chamber, showed support in joining the Russian-led trade bloc on November 12, 2013 after meeting a delegation from the Russian parliament's upper chamber.[86]

On May 29, 2014, Uzbekistan's president Islam Karimov criticized the union on the basis of loss of sovereignty and expressed his opposition to the project.[87]

In December 2016, Uzbekistan's new President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, reportedly revisited the topic of Uzbekistan potentially joining the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union.[88]

In April 2018, Uzbekistan began reforming its import tariffs and regulations to match EAEU norms, in an attempt to develop economic growth and mutual trade with other EAEU members.[89]

Free trade agreements[edit]

In January 2017, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that around 50 countries expressed their willingness to cooperate with the Eurasian Union.[90] In March 2017, the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev stated that he is optimistic about the future of the Eurasian Economic Union and its potential growth. He further added that the market of the Eurasian Economic Union countries with their population of over 183 million is very promising and believes that other trade blocs including the European Union, ASEAN, Mercosur, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation could be interested in possible future trade deals.[91]

ASEAN[edit]

In November 2016, the ASEAN Secretariat and the Foreign Minister of Armenia held meetings in Jakarta. The Foreign Minister of Armenia stated that Armenia is keen on forging cooperative relations with ASEAN and its Member States, and would also push for region-to-region cooperation between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union. The Secretary-General of ASEAN also exchanged views on the potentials for closer cooperation between ASEAN and the EAEU.[92]

Bangladesh[edit]

Officials in Bangladesh are pushing for closer links with the Eurasian Union. The Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the EAEU in July 2016 and now the country is seeking to sign a free trade deal with the EAEU in order to get duty-free access to the Eurasian market of 183 million people.[93]

Brazil[edit]

In May 2017, government officials of Belarus and Brazil met in Minsk to discuss the establishment and development of Brazil-EAEU relations. The parties discussed a wide range of issues from trade and economic investments, to the interaction between the Eurasian Economic Union and the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR).[94]

Cambodia[edit]

In February 2017, Cambodia signed an agreement with the Eurasian Union with the aims of expanding trade cooperation between the two sides. The EAEU controls imports and exports to a market of almost 183 million people and Cambodia is hoping to boost bilateral trade with EAEU member states.[95]

Canada[edit]

In April 2015, the Canada-Russia-Eurasia Business Association stated that Canadian businesses are interested in cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union. He said that the association would hold a seminar in Montreal on May 1 at which the ambassadors of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia will speak. They will express their detailed view to the Canadian business community of the possible future cooperation between Canadian businesses and the EAEU.[96]

Chile[edit]

Eurasian Union member-states and the Republic of Chile are thrashing out the issue of potential formation of a free trade zone. The next meeting of the joint commission will be held in 2017 in Chile and will be attended by business representatives from the EAEU states presenting their potential.[97]

China[edit]

In 2016, China, Russia and Mongolia officially signed plans to build an economic corridor. There is also steady progress with regard to synergizing the initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union and to deepen relations and cooperation between the Eurasian Union, China, and other BRICS member states.[98]

On May 17 2018, it was confirmed that China signed a trade and economic cooperation agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union in the Kazakh capital of Astana.[99]

Ecuador[edit]

It is expected that Ecuador will sign a free trade deal with the EEU after a trade meeting was held between the Presidents of Ecuador and Belarus in the Ecuadorian capital Quito on February 12, 2015.[100]

Egypt[edit]

In December 2016, the Presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia have approved proposals on the need to start talks on creation of a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Egypt.[101] On December 26, 2016, the President of Egypt confirmed the importance that Egypt assigns to the creation of a free trade area with EEU.[102]

India[edit]

In July 2016, negotiators from India and the Eurasion Union gathered to discuss next steps of a Free Trade Agreement. India aims to bolster commerce and investments with the Unions member states and hopes to complete the FTA by early 2017.[103]

Indonesia[edit]

In November 2016, Indonesian government officials explored the possibility of forging a Free Trade Agreement with the EAEU. The Trade Minister of Indonesia stated that his country would follow other ASEAN members like Vietnam and Singapore by establishing closer trade links and creating new economic opportunities with the Eurasian Union. The Minister hopes to begin talks during the next ASEAN-Russia Summit.[104]

Iran[edit]

Iran has expressed interest in signing a trade agreement with the EEU.[105] During a meeting between Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, they discussed the prospect of corporation between the customs union and Iran. According to the Iranian Ambassador based in Russia, Mehdi Sanaei, Iran is focusing on signing an agreement with the EEU in 2015 regarding mutual trade and reduction of import tariffs to central Asian countries and trading in national currencies as part of the agreement rather than in USD (US dollars).[106] Iran and Russia have also expanded bilateral relations and agreements between each other recently, in terms of mutual trade, energy, exports, agriculture, military and recourses.[107]

In December 2016, the Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, stated that Armenia is actively supporting the process of negotiations between the Eurasian Economic Commission and Iran striving to sign a Free Trade Agreement as soon as possible. His proposition comes about a week after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s official visit to Yerevan, where discussion took place on the deepening of trade and economic relations between the EEU and Iran.[108]

In March 2017, the prime ministers of the Eurasian Economic Union signed a directive ordering preparations for an agreement on forming a Free-trade zone with Iran, during a meeting in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.[109] According to Russia’s Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak, the agreement could be finalised by May 2018.[110]

On May 17 2018, it was confirmed that Iran has signed an agreement to enter a three year provisional free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, according to EEU official Tigran Sargsyan.[111]

Israel[edit]

In October 2016, Russian Ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin said that the signing of a trade deal between Russia and Israel, one similar to between Russia and Vietnam, was being discussed.[112]

Japan[edit]

The possibility of establishing a free trade zone between Japan and the Eurasian Union will be discussed in the nearest future, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a Russian-Japanese Business Dialogue meeting in December 2016.[113]

Lebanon[edit]

On March 12, 2018, Armenia discussed the potential for Lebanon to access larger markets within the EAEU during a meeting between the Lebanese and Armenian Prime Ministers in Beirut. [114]

MERCOSUR[edit]

Mercosur is the South American trade bloc that unites Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. In April 2016, the Eurasian Economic Commission held a working meeting between the Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tigran Sargsyan and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic. The parties discussed the developing relations between the Eurasian Union and Argentina as well as developing closer ties between the member states of MERCOSUR and the EAEU. A draft memorandum of future cooperation on trade and economic issues had been sent to MERCOSUR for consideration.[115]

Mongolia[edit]

In February 2017, the Prime Minister of Mongolia stated that bilateral relations have been dynamically developing and that Mongolia is prepared to establish a joint working group for establishing a Free Trade Agreement with the EAEU.[116]

Morocco[edit]

Morocco and the Eurasian Economic Commission signed September 28, 2017 in Rabat, an economic cooperation memorandum to strengthen relations between the two sides.

"This memorandum on cooperation between Morocco and the EEC will make it possible to formalize relations between the two parties," Minister in charge of Integration and Macroeconomics at the EEC, Tatyana Valovaya, said following talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita.

Under the agreement, a joint group will be set up to discuss issues relating to economic cooperation between Morocco and the EEC, she added, noting that the Eurasian Economic Community, is a market of 180 million people.

In his turn, Bourita said that the signing of this agreement is part of the diversification of partnerships between Morocco and regional groupings, in accordance with the high royal guidelines.

Morocco, which has bilateral relations with the countries of the EEC, aims to increase its exports with this economic grouping, particularly in the agricultural sector, he stressed.

The EEC had signed partnerships with other countries, which shows that it sees Morocco as a "credible partner and a gateway" to Africa and other regions with whom the Kingdom enjoys excellent relations, he said.[117][118]

New Zealand[edit]

On August 2016 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks in Moscow with his counterpart from New Zealand. The formation of a free trade zone between New Zealand and the Eurasian Union meets the interests of New Zealand’s producers and there is hope that this project will be brought to the table once again in the future.[119]

Pakistan[edit]

In June 2017, Pakistan had accepted Russia’s proposal to enter into a bilateral Free Trade Agreement. Russia also expressed support for Pakistan’s possible future inclusion in the Eurasian Economic Union.[120]

Philippines[edit]

In May 2016, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta responded positively to Russia’s calls for tighter relations and economic links between the EEU and the Philippines. Some Russian analysts argue that the Philippines could be the key in Moscow’s ambition to forge a free trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the ASEAN bloc. This idea has gained positive feedback from Philippine policymakers.[121]

Serbia[edit]

In November 2016, the Serbian Foreign Minister said Serbia plans on signing an integrated agreement with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union. The Minister added that Serbia is now planning to sign a common agreement which will be good for all members of the EAEU.[122]

Singapore[edit]

In May 2016, Prime Minister of Singapore witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Singapore and the Eurasian Union. The move was aimed at bolstering economic ties and closer collaboration. The Prime Minister called the agreement a positive and concrete step towards deepening and widening engagement.[123]

South Korea[edit]

In February 2017, the government of South Korea announced that it will begin seeking Free Trade Agreements with entities like Mercosur and the Eurasian Economic Union as a way to boost economic growth and cooperation.[124]

Thailand[edit]

Thailand has confirmed its interest in creating a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union. In July 2015, the Thai government was reportedly working on the final stages of an agreement. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that the EEU was already holding talks with over 40 countries interested in establishing trade links. He added that Russia was also working on a possible future currency union with other members of the Eurasian Economic Union.[125]

Tunisia[edit]

In August 2016, the Ambassador of Tunisia to Russia stated that Tunisia was prepared to sign a trade deal with the Eurasian Union to boost trade prospects. The Ambassador said much progress was made over the past year to create a special economic zone.[126]

Vietnam[edit]

In October 2016, a Free Trade Agreement between the Eurasian Union and Vietnam came into effect. This formal declaration signals the EEU’s burgeoning interest to further economic ties with Asia-Pacific, in particular, with ASEAN members.[127] The agreement will open Vietnam to a market of 183 million people. Cambodia and Thailand are also reportedly in talks to deepen trade relations with the EEU.[127]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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