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Russia offers economic partnership to ASEAN countries — minister

May 19, 2016, 21:24 UTC+3 SOCHI

ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar with a total population of over 600 million people

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SOCHI, May 19. /TASS/. Russia has offered economic partnership to the ASEAN member-states, the country’s Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukayev said at the Russia-ASEAN summit on Thursday.

"Prior to the present summit Russia-ASEAN we suggested that we shift to the format of economic partnership between Russia and the member-countries of ASEAN," he said.

According to Ulyukayev, this kind of partnership will help "solve the issues related to economic regulation, regulatory base in the field of trade policy as well as in such areas as trade and services, protection of investment, creation of global value-added chains and our countries’ building into them."

"We have submitted our proposals to the partners and are expecting their reply," the minister said.

Creation of trade preferences

According to Russia’s First Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexey Likhachev, businessmen of Russia and the member-states of ASEAN are asking the authorities to speed up the creation of trade preferences.

"Today the participation of a great number of representatives of ASEAN states and Russian business (in the forum) evidences that the issue of development of trade and investment is important for us. On the other hand there is a whole range of challenges regarding our relations, which are first of all tied with the registration system, customs regulation and certification of goods," he said.

According to Likhachev, there are trade barriers - import duties, protective measures, logistics schemes, which are not always convenient for entrepreneurs.

"That’s why businessmen are asking governments to move towards creation of trade preferences and free trade zones faster," he said, adding that there is a number of potential joint projects, which needs particular supporting measures.

The summit of Russia and the member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is being held in Sochi on May 19-20 and is going to become the biggest international event in Russia in 2016.

ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar with a total population of over 600 million people. The Association aims to develop cooperation in the economic, social, cultural and other spheres, and also strengthen peace and stability in Southeast Asia.

Russia has been a dialog partner of ASEAN since July 1996. In December 2005, the first Russia-ASEAN summit was held in Kuala Lumpur. The summit participants signed a declaration on cooperation and approved an action plan - in effect a roadmap of Russia-ASEAN interaction. Similar partnership summits are normally held on the territory of member-states and the choice of Sochi as venue for the Russia-ASEAN summit on the partnership’s 20th anniversary is symbolic.

The gross domestic product of ASEAN member-states stands at about $3.5 trillion today and is expected to reach $4 trillion by 2020. ASEAN is becoming an increasingly attractive area for foreign investments, which grew by 16% in 2014 to over $136 billion.

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