Russia proposes common energy market in Eurasian Economic Union

72% of payments among bloc countries Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia made in rubles, says prime minister.

Russia proposes common energy market in Eurasian Economic Union

Russia's prime minister on Friday suggested creating a common oil and gas market of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

"The formation of common markets for gas, oil, and petroleum products, as well as the electric power industry, remain the most important issues for all the member states of the EAEU," Mikhail Mishustin said at a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Armenia's capital Yerevan.

Mishustin stressed that the establishment of a common energy market would be beneficial for all EAEU members.

Noting that last year, trade turnover in the bloc had exceeded $73 billion, he said the Russian ruble was the principal currency, used for 72% of all payments.

Mishustin urged his counterparts at the council to build joint enterprises in strategically important sectors, including IT, with the participation of at least three of five EAEU members.

"This approach will guarantee access for small economies to the development of new technologies. It will also stimulate integration processes in the Eurasian space.

"Each state of the 'five' has a lot of its own innovations, excellent technological examples. We can exchange best practices. Find common ground. And achieve significant success using each other's strengths," he said.

Mishustin underlined that work was ongoing for the full-scale launch of an integrated union-wide information system, designed to ensure interstate interaction in electronic form and create common information resources.

Hailing the free movement of goods, capital, and labor in the EAEU, he added that the bloc's members were working to eliminate existing obstacles to integration and prevent the emergence of new ones.

"Today, my colleagues and I have agreed on coordinated joint actions. We will take measures to prevent the emergence of new obstacles -- primarily in trade," he said.

Mishustin invited cooperation not just within EAEU countries, but also abroad, specifically for nationals of member states to work at Russia's industrial zone in Egypt.

Companies producing at least 30% of their goods on the territory of the industrial zone enjoy significant advantages, he said, pointing to the area's proximity to major maritime transport infrastructure, the benefits of the ports of the Suez Canal, and exemption from customs duties on exports to Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and other countries that have trade agreements with Egypt.

Mishustin also stressed the need to keep coordinating efforts on transport policy, developing routes that pass through the territory of the EAEU via the North-South international corridor, taking into account the reorientation of raw materials supplies and close trade and economic cooperation with China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific.

He said the EAEU would continue developing despite Western sanctions and called on other participants to strengthen international ties.

"It is important to continue to remain open to dialogue with other states and strengthen international ties despite the pressure of the collective West," he said.

Established in 2014 by the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, the Eurasian Economic Union is today an economic bloc of five post-Soviet states in Eurasia with the inclusion of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan in 2015.

Hüseyin Demir

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