VLADIVOSTOK, September 7 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus opens up new perspectives for integration processes in the Asia Pacific region.
“The zone of free trade in the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan can be seen not only as our common answer to the challenges of the crisis. There emerged new possibilities for joint projects with APEC economies,” the Russian president said on Friday addressing the APEC CEO summit in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok.
Thus, “negotiations are underway to sign a free trade agreement between the Customs Union and New Zealand, a joint report has been prepared on a similar process with Vietnam,” Putin said. “We have already received dozens of applications from Asia Pacific countries for establishing special trade relations with the Customs Union.”
According to the Russian leader, at the Vladivostok APEC forum, Russia “proceeds from the consolidated position of all members of the “Integrated Three,” i.e. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.” “We are not standing still. We are now working with partners on the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union. It will be a higher degree of integration, when the majority of competences are handed over to a supranational level, when macroeconomic, technological and financial policies are coordinated,” he said.
“As a matter of fact, we want to create a strong centre of regional development. More to it, the future Eurasian Economic Union is to be an efficient link between Europe and the Asia Pacific region,” Putin stressed.