“We need to redouble our efforts towards creating common EAEU energy and transport markets” - PM attends Eurasian Intergovernmental Council Meeting
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan arrived in the Republic of Kazakhstan on a working visit. The Prime Minister attended a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Almaty, which was held in narrow and expanded formats.
The meeting was attended by the Prime Ministers of Armenia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Kyrgyzstan. Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Ion Kiku partook in the expanded meeting as an observer state representative.
Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Pashinyan stated:
“Dear Heads of Government,
Dear members of delegations,
To begin with, I would like to thank Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin for good organization of the meeting and traditional hospitality.
I would also like to welcome Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Vladimirovich Mishustin, and Prime Minister of Moldova Ion Kiku who are taking part in the meeting of our Council for the first time. I wish you good luck and would like to assure you of our readiness for active and fruitful cooperation.
This is our first meeting this year, chaired by the Belarusian side. We support the priority areas of integration identified by Belarus for the period of their chairmanship. In this regard, I would like to emphasize the importance of eliminating the remaining barriers, exemptions and restrictions that impede the formation of a common economic space.
It is also necessary to intensify efforts aimed at creating common EAEU energy and transport markets with non-discriminatory approaches in the field of pricing, tariffs and access to the services of natural monopolies. Improving the efficiency of EAEU bodies, developing transport and logistics infrastructures are another area that should be our focus.
Regarding today’s agenda, I would like to state as follows: we once again discussed progress in removing the outstanding barriers in the Union’s internal market. We have made decisions concerning some of these barriers. However, as I have already noted, we believe it expedient to step up the efforts aimed at eliminating the remaining impediments and creating such favorable conditions as would rule out the possibility of their recurrence.
Regarding the “Strategic Directions for the Development of Eurasian Integration until 2025,” I would like to note that we attach particular importance to the final approval of this document on the basis of those forms of cooperation enshrined in the Treaty on the EAEU.
As you may know, the Republic of Armenia has actively participated and supported the process of creating and implementing the EAEU Digital Agenda. We believe that the formation of an ecosystem of digital transport corridors will provide an opportunity to shrink the gap between consumers and services, as well as between the manufacturer and the seller. It will reduce the time of delivery, as well as the time to search for optimal ways and methods of moving goods, making the market more perfect in this regard.
As the term of office of the Chairman of the Commission expires on February 1, I would like to thank Tigran Sargsyan and the Commission for good work and wish them every success in future activities. I would also like to wish fruitful work to the new Commission, headed by Mikhail Myasnikovich, as well as the Republic of Belarus, which will chair the EAEU bodies this year.
In conclusion, I want to express Armenia’s readiness to host one of the subsequent meetings of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council during this year. I would be glad to welcome you all to Armenia. And on our part, I want to assure you that we will do our best to hold the Council meeting at the highest level. Thank you.”
During the meeting, the Prime Ministers discussed a number of issues related to the further improvement of EAEU’s functionality and the improvement of the legal framework of the organization. In particular, issues related to the elimination of obstacles and barriers in the EAEU market, the integration of national information systems, cooperation in the field of customs regulation and the formation of common markets were raised.
A number of initiatives were also discussed, including the possibility of expanding the use of national currencies in the Eurasian space and improving protective measures based on international experience.
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On the sidelines of the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Almaty, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with newly appointed Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin.
Nikol Pashinyan noted in his remarks:
“Dear Mikhail Vladimirovich, I am happy to meet you in person. Let me congratulate you once again on your appointment as the Prime Minister of Russia. Our countries and governments have always enjoyed good, warm relations. Nevertheless, I believe that we have a chance to upgrade our relations, and we will be able do so through joint efforts. Relations between our countries are developing consistently. The bilateral trade turnover approached the mark of 2 billion in 2019, and this good dynamics will continue in 2020.
Last year we managed to create good economic momentum. The figures were published earlier today: economic growth was closer to 8%; this is also due to our economic cooperation with the Russian Federation and within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. I hope your government will support the economic dynamics that we have in Armenia today. I hope to host you in Yerevan in the near future, since one of the EAEU Intergovernmental Council’s meetings will be held in Yerevan this year.”
In turn, Mikhail Mishustin noted:
“Dear Nikol Vovayevich, thank you for your kind remarks and congratulations. I have kept fond recollections of my recent trip to Armenia, Yerevan, where I took part in the World Forum on Information Technologies - it was brilliantly organized. I want to say that Russia and Armenia are bound by close partnership and allied relations. We are collaborating in the field of energy, transport, industry, cultural and humanitarian affairs.
The new government is set to continue constructive relations and working contacts with our Armenian counterparts, including in the framework of the intergovernmental commission, headed by Minister of Transport Yevgeny Dietrich.
You talked about our trade turnover. Russia is Armenia’s leading foreign economic partner with a share of over 26% in foreign trade. About 2.2 thousand Russian enterprises are currently operating in your country.
Bilateral trade rose by 11% in 2018 to nearly 2 billion U.S. dollars. The growth continued last year, increasing by about 17.6% in January-November. This is good, we need to build on this positive trend and look for new areas for cooperation. I hope today we will be able to discuss the entire range of bilateral relations.”
During the meeting, the interlocutors discussed a wide range of issues related to the Armenian-Russian economic relations. In particular, Nikol Pashinyan and Mikhail Mishustin touched upon the expansion of trade and economic ties, the possibility of implementing joint investment projects in the fields of infrastructure, energy, industry, information technology and microelectronics.
Mikhail Mishustin emphasized that the Russian side is interested in discussing the prospects for implementing specific programs in the field of information technology. Prime Minister Pashinyan welcomed this initiative, highlighting the development of cooperation in this area. The parties stressed the importance of the activities carried out by the Armenian-Russian intergovernmental commission in terms of giving fresh impetus to cooperation.
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with Prime Minister of Moldova Ion Chicu on the margins of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council’s meeting in Almaty.
Prime Minister Pashinyan said, “Honorable Mr. Prime Minister, I am very glad to meet you, and I want to once again congratulate you on being appointed Prime Minister of Moldova. Armenia and Moldova enjoy very good political relations: our countries boast a strong background of cultural and humanitarian linkages. Nevertheless, we cannot say too much about the level of our trade and economic relations, for which there are both objective and subjective reasons.
I think we have to upgrade our economic relations and trade turnover, which is a solvable task in the 21st century. I am prepared to endeavor in that direction. I mean our trade and economic relations, because I am confident that we have no problems in other areas.”
The Prime Minister of Moldova said:
“Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your congratulations and kind remarks. We are pleased with our very good relations in cultural, humanitarian and other spheres. Of course, you were right to note that there is great potential for developing bilateral economic relations, since our countries have advantages in a number of spheres where we can develop cooperation.
Moldova has free trade regime with the EU, and considering the active stance of Armenia’s representatives, I think we will be able to make a better use of existing opportunities. Both Armenia and Moldova are represented in a number of commodity markets, but we are not rivals. Armenian brandy and other products are worth of high appreciation, of course.
We boast very good relations in terms of reforms. For instance, I had many interactions with your Ministry of Finance while working at the World Bank, where progressive reforms were being implemented. I mean we can promote and wind up cooperation in a wide range of areas.
And of course, we look forward to hosting you in the Republic of Moldova. Before coming here, I talked with President Dodon who conveyed warm greetings to you, saying that we are looking forth to your visit to Moldova.
Also, I do believe that the intergovernmental commission should resume its activities as it is a good platform for discussing issues and opportunities for the development of bilateral cooperation.”
The Armenian and Moldovan Premiers discussed a wide range of issues concerning the development of economic relations.