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Broad Eurasian Partnership is possible

Formation of Broad Eurasian Partnership (BEP) is interesting both for member-states because it can make international cooperation more effective, and for business interested in new markets and development.

Today concept of BEP is mainly focused on the development of cooperation with China. EEC and China have already negotiated a non-preferential trade agreement. Besides Russia and China are discussing a project of Agreement on Eurasian Economic Partnership, which other countries of Asia-Pacific Region could join in future.

Unfortunately our business doesn’t understand all the details of business mechanisms in Asia-Pacific Region and China, in particular it doesn’t have complete information about possibilities for cooperation and can’t fully support governmental initiatives. Experience shows that our partners from Asia-Pacific Region and China have the same problems.

We shouldn’t confine ourselves to relations with a limited number of partners even if they are very important. On the one hand there is a need in diversification of contacts, and on the other hand – in contingence or even union of different integration processes of Europe and Asia. And here BEP can be really useful.

In this regard some points are worth mentioning which could support the development of BEP.

1. We should use maximum possibilities of international institutes and integration initiatives of countries and unions.

There are many in all countries and international unions of macro region, not only Chinese One Belt, One Road initiative.

We should determine basic international platform to develop such integration initiatives, coordinate them and set forth certain steps of implementation of BEP. Cooperation shouldn’t include only dialogues with each potential member. Multilateral cooperation shouldn’t be underestimated either.

We consider SCO as a promising mechanism in this regard. On the one hand there are many potential BEP members and on the other hand it has strong international influence. Of course to create BEP we will need to change the work of organization and to develop its institutional structure. However some aspects of cooperation in BEP can be practiced in different formats for example negotiations on trade agreements between EAEU and some states.

2. At the same time we have to work out development strategy for BEP, which would allow to incorporate some projects and correspondent companies for maximum effect. Such decisions and formats of project integration can be discussed within business unions and on the platforms of governmental bodies to further submit to the governments of the participating parties and supranational bodies. In our situation – EEC. Joint efforts of some companies and projects will allow to accumulate necessary resources in target allocations and to enlarge efficient factor of the scale.

BEP can be an “umbrella brand” for business as well as the One Belt, One Road initiative, under which different projects will be conducted for social and economic development of macro region. Thus the scale of the initiative will be broadened and interest of partners will rice.

3. Project aspect should take into account national priorities of the member-states and sectors important for everyone: finance availability, investments in infrastructure and real sector, development of services sphere.

Among other key aspects of BEP development in the beginning are: better cooperation environment, eliminating of redundant restrictions and synchronization of requirements in the sector of trade and investment, technical, health regulation, customs registration, intellectual rights defense. It is important to form correct expectations from cooperation among the participating parties.

We must not forget to inform partner about possibilities to implement joint initiatives and projects. For example very few representatives of business are aware of Association of export-import banks of Northeast Asia under the auspices of Extended Tumangan Initiative which unites VEB, EXIM, banks of China and Korea, and Bank of Development of Mongolia. However during the June session of Consulting Commission of Extended Tumangan Initiative in Moscow it was announced about signing Memorandum of cooperation in financing the project of construction of grain terminal in the port Zarubino. The Memorandum was signed between the Association and Joint cereal company.

4. We need organized development and implementation of new formats of better economic interconnection.

Better interconnection within BEP will be ensured by mechanism of “privilege chains” for business. This implies chains to create added value by goods and services with cross-border usage of different institutes for better development such as Special Economic Zone, Priority Development Area, techno-parks etc. located in states-partners of BEP. Goods produced this way can be very competitive in price and quality. Besides within BEP special programs can be worked out using these chains which will maximize the advantages of BEP members.

In conclusion I would like to mention that the success of BEP depends on how effectively business will join the process. We can speak a lot about convergence of politics or development of cultural ties. But without business – trade, investment – it all will remain just words. RSPP suggests the Government to cooperate more actively in forming concept ideas of Broad Eurasian Partnership.