The Kazakhstan President took part in the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council
December 9, 2022
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took part in the regular meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (SEEC), which was held in Bishkek.
The summit, along with the President of Kazakhstan, was attended by the President of the Kyrgyz Republic – Chairman of the SEEC Sadyr Zhaparov, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, from the observer states to the EAEU – the President of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Diaz- Kanel, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov, Chairman of the Executive Committee – CIS Executive Secretary Sergey Lebedev, and Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Mikhail Myasnikovich.
At the beginning of his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev thanked the Kyrgyz side and personally Sadyr Japarov for the warm welcome and the high level of organization of the meeting.
The head of state noted that, traditionally, at the December meetings, the leaders of the EAEU sum up the results of joint work and determine the tasks for the coming period.
– We see how all sorts of bans, quotas and duties are introduced in the world that seriously restrict trade. Against this background, our active cooperation within the EAEU differs positively from global trends, and this inspires optimism. Despite the pressure of external factors, Kazakhstan’s trade turnover with the EAEU countries grew by more than 7% in January-October this year, amounting to $23 billion. Large-scale joint projects are being implemented, and the share of national currencies in mutual settlements is increasing. Such a positive trend clearly demonstrates the high level of interaction and the significant potential of our integration partnership,” said Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
According to him, in the context of the current geopolitical turbulence, it is extremely important for the EAEU countries to maintain and strengthen economic ties, to unite efforts to develop trade and economic cooperation within the framework of common principles and goals. To this end, the President of Kazakhstan outlined a number of priority issues.
– Minimization of the negative impact of global inflation on the economies of our countries. Forecasts of international organizations are disappointing. The International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for global economic growth in 2023 to 2.7%, the World Trade Organization – to 1%. And according to the Eurasian Economic Commission, consumer prices continue to rise in the EAEU countries. Inflation within the Union in October amounted to 11.5%. Its main increase is accounted for by food and non-food products. All this significantly affects the purchasing power and social well-being of our citizens. It must be admitted that the well-known sanctions restrictions put pressure on the economies of all EAEU member states. Therefore, the Commission and the governments of our countries, in our opinion, should pay special attention to this issue and propose ways to mitigate the impact of these sanctions restrictions, the President of Kazakhstan noted.
The second priority in the speech was the development of international economic cooperation.
– The sphere of foreign trade interests of the Union is expanding every year. This is a positive trend, and Kazakhstan supports this direction. Now it is important to focus on improving the quality of interaction with partners with whom preferential agreements have been concluded. We are talking about Vietnam, Serbia and Iran. It is important to speed up work on free trade zone agreements with India, Egypt, Indonesia and Israel. It is desirable to continue this work by joint efforts. This is not the first time I’m talking about this. Kazakhstan notes with satisfaction the start of negotiations with the United Arab Emirates on an agreement on a free trade zone. I consider this initiative to be very promising and in line with the interests of the entire Eurasian Five. Now it is important not to delay this process,” the Head of State stressed.
Along with this, the President of Kazakhstan pointed out another important issue – ensuring the free transit of goods through the territory of the EAEU. According to him, the effectiveness of the integration partnership directly depends on the observance of the principle of “four freedoms”, one of which is the freedom of movement of goods.
– I think that it would be necessary to eliminate all cases of restriction of movement, quotas and detention of Kazakhstani, and not only Kazakhstani, goods transiting through our common customs territory. Such restrictions do not correspond to the goals and spirit of economic cooperation within the EAEU. Most importantly, they limit the realization of the potential of our economic integration. We consider it necessary to expedite the entry into force of the Agreement on the Use of Navigation Seals to Track Shipments. Such a measure would be a good example of the positive impact of digitalization on integration processes. I believe that the early ratification of this Agreement will contribute to solving this problem,” said Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
He recalled that in 2020, the Strategy for the Development of Eurasian Economic Integration until 2025 was adopted. Today, the governments of the EAEU countries, together with the Commission, are working on its implementation. The head of state considers it absolutely right to approach the implementation of the Strategy in stages, with full observance of the national interests of all participating countries.
– We believe that there is no need to prepare a new EAEU Development Strategy yet. Moreover, there is no need to limit the rights of national Governments. The current large Treaty and all the rights of the Union are the result of long negotiations, carefully adjusted positions based on mutual concessions and compromise. The institutional and substantive parts of the Treaty provide a delicate, delicate balance of national and supranational competencies, representing, in fact, the goodwill and economic pragmatism of all parties. For more than 8 years, the members of the Union have been overcoming modern challenges together. This became possible thanks to mutual support and respect for national interests. We have delegated certain rights to the Eurasian Economic Commission, the Eurasian Court, the Eurasian Development Bank. We create the Eurasian Reinsurance Company. All this time, the guarantee of our long-term cooperation is the parity and balance of interests of the parties. Therefore, it is important to continue adhering to the institutional framework of the Treaty on the EAEU,” the President of Kazakhstan said.
He stressed that Kazakhstan is sincerely and substantively interested in the development of integration.
– There can be no question of any “slowing down” of integration processes by Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan, on the contrary, is making every effort to improve and optimize the process of economic integration in full compliance with the Treaty on the EAEU in the interests of all member states of the Union, and, of course, taking into account the national interests of our country. Our peoples and, of course, the people of Kazakhstan, especially entrepreneurs, should really feel the beneficial fruits and results of such integration. We are concerned about the “slippage” of processes in certain areas. In particular, we are talking about the digital agenda of the Union. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan has advanced quite far in this direction. According to the UN, our country is among the thirty most digitized states in the world. More than 90% of public services in Kazakhstan are provided in electronic format. Legislative foundations have been created for the competitive development of IT technologies and innovations. The international technopark of IT startups is functioning, the crypto industry is developing, and the digital tenge is being introduced. I believe that this experience could be used to develop integration and create projects of a common Eurasian scale. Our task, as the Union, is to become a leading player in the field of new digital technologies, crypto-ecosystem, and fintech. And this task is quite feasible. Moreover, Russia, Belarus, Armenia historically have significant experience in such areas. We call on the participating countries to intensify work in this direction, the Head of State noted.
He believes that the issue of labor migration requires special attention. In his opinion, the current challenges even more clearly emphasize the importance of this area.
– It is important not to stand still, to offer new approaches. Including in terms of job search, simplification of employment procedures, provision of social guarantees to labor migrants and their families. Citizens should feel the real benefit of the integration project. Another area is tourism. The Union has enormous potential here, all types of tourism are available to us. Let’s create conditions, promote integration, including between people. I believe that the Commission, together with the governments, could work out substantive and realistic projects in this area, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev suggested.
Summing up, the Head of State stated that by joint efforts the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union successfully neutralize the consequences of current challenges.
In conclusion, the President of Kazakhstan congratulated the Kyrgyz side and personally Sadyr Zhaparov on the successful completion of the chairmanship of Kyrgyzstan. He noted that next year this honorary mission will be transferred to the Russian side. According to him, Kazakhstan has no doubts that the work of the Russian presidency will be successful. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed confidence that the efforts of the Russian Federation, as the largest economy, will give a new impetus to the development of the EAEU.
As a result of the meeting, a number of documents were adopted.