ASEAN to promote trade with Russia and EAEU

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - ASEAN Economic Ministers agreed to expand trade with Russia and those grouped in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

The cooperation would be cemented with a memorandum of understanding on trade expansion between the two sides, Director of International Trade Negotiations Iman Pambagyo said.

Imam said currently ASEAN and Eurasian Economic Union (EEC) are seeking to finalize the MoU expected to be wrapped up in November, 2017.

"ASEAN and EEC are finalizing the MoU to promote economic cooperation between the two sides and it is expected to be signed during the ASEAN Summit in November 2017," Iman said in a written statement received here on Tuesday.

Senior officials of the two economic groupings will soon wrap up the MoU that it could be signed together with Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) - supranational body - of EAEU and secretary general of ASEAN, representing ASEAN member countries.

EAEU groups Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.

The 49th Asean Economic Minister meeting was closed with the 6th AEM-Russia Consultations and the 14th AEM-India Consultations in Pasay, the Philippines. The Russian delegation was headed by Deputy Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin and the Indian delegation by Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu.

The ministers also ratified revision of the ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Cooperation Road Map together with Post 2017 ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Cooperation Work Program developed from the ASEAN-Russian Trade and Investment Cooperation Road Map.

The Ministers discussed development of Russian recommendation about feasibility study on ASEAN-EAEU free trade area.

"AEM Ministers are of the opinion ASEAN needs to study and know first the trade system in EAEU before deciding on more intensive cooperation with EAEU. The methods could be in the form of workshop and dialog about trade policy," Iman said.

Based on ASEAN statistic data, the ASEAN-Russian trade was valued at US$12 billion in 2016 or 5 percent of ASEAN total trade. Russian direct investment in ASEAN was valued at US$60 million in 2016.(*)