The conference "Problems on the way of conjugation of the Eurasian Union and the "Belt and Road" Initiative of China" was held in the framework of the Moscow Economic Forum.
The conference was opened by Dmitry Mezentsev, chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy, head of the Russian-Chinese Friendship Society. "The Moscow Economic Forum brought together a serious team of experts and professionals. Symbolically, the main building of the Russian Academy of Sciences is the place for discussion of the issues of interaction between the Eurasian Economic Union and the program "One Belt, One Road", Mezentsev said.
During the conference, the participants discussed which components of the "One Belt, One Road" project initiatives meet the national interests of Russia and other EurAsEC participants, analyzed the opportunities for exports from Russia and other countries of the association, and, in general, the new prospects that the long-term plan of the "Chinese Dream".
The period that passed after 2013, when the Concept of the Economic belt of the Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st century was announced in Beijing ("One Belt, One Road", OBOR), showed the real demand for the initiative. Today, it has received the support of more than 100 countries and international organizations.
When in 2013, Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping announced the strategy of building economic corridors for development in Central and South Asia—the "Economic Belt of the Silk Road", Russia remained aloof from the project. China began to vigorously promote the project through the signing of bilateral agreements on participation with the countries of Central and South Asia and conclude agreements on the establishment of free trade zones.
Only in May 2015 in Moscow, a joint statement was made by Russia and China on cooperation in combining the construction of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Economic belt of the Silk Road. The document directs the parties to further development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, broader industrial cooperation, deepening investment and financial cooperation. He sets the task of optimizing regional production networks, strengthening the international transport infrastructure and intermodal transport, and consistently moving towards the creation of a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and China.
According to Sergei Glaziev, "the meaning of the interlinking is joint investment in growth points where it is possible to combine the competitive advantages of Chinese, Russian and other companies, which will create the basis for the withdrawal of mutual trade to a new level." First of all, it means a coordinated policy aimed at eliminating administrative, technological and economic barriers, creating modern interregional multimodal logistics centers and hubs.
It is noteworthy that the European Commission, having familiarized itself with the draft of OBOR project, called it "an immature integration project with a lot of contradictions". And the similar response from the EU only added arguments in favor of interlinking of the project "One Belt, One Road" with EurAsEC.
In addition, sanctions and pressure from the West require the redirection of Russia's economic and financial ties to the east. As the experts note, one of the main advantages of interlinking with OBOR is the fact that "the EurAsEC countries have exhausted the initial effect of creating a common market with the elimination of cross-border barriers. The countries of the Union need investments in large infrastructure projects, which will lead to the creation of new jobs and enhance internal regional integration."
According to Konstantin Kokarev, the head of the Center for Asia and the Asia-Pacific Region, "the concept of OBOR corresponds to the general creative, not confrontational, tendencies of regional and global development," the scientist believes. "It is in the interests of countries seeking to strengthen their own capacity with the resource of this transcontinental project."
At this stage, infrastructure construction is a key topic of cooperation. "For us, this is also important because the Russian transport routes still provide, unfortunately, no more than 5-7% of the potential volume of the Eurasian market for transport and logistics services," Konstantin Kokarev believes. "Therefore, in specific plans for conjugation of the Eurasian Economic Union and "Silk Road", it is desirable to take into account the capabilities of the Trans-Siberian Railway in the interests of raising the Siberian and Far-Eastern regions of our country."
Negotiations between the countries of the EEU and the SCO will be facilitated, within the framework of which an agreement on an economic continental partnership, implying a free trade zone, is also being prepared.