Eastern promises: Russia & ASEAN unveil plan for economic cooperation

Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have adopted a roadmap for boosting mutual trade and investment cooperation for the next five years, Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development announced.

The pandemic has demonstrated that we can overcome the crisis only by means of scaling up cooperation in three key areas – trade and investment, digital economy, and sustainable development,” the ministry’s press service reported, citing Deputy Minister Vladimir Ilyichev.

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According to the official, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, investments in joint Russia-ASEAN projects saw more than a threefold increase in 2020 compared to 2019, reaching $8.8 billion.

Ilyichev said that both ASEAN member states and Russia need to modernize their respective economic models to ensure more efficient cooperation. Also, he stressed that Russia sees great potential in joint work on climate-related projects under the plan.

According to the ministry, cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), of which Russia is a member state, and ASEAN will also see changes in the near future.

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The sides (ASEAN and EAEU) agreed to draft a number of initiatives in the areas of the development of the single-window systems, e-trade, intellectual property protection, as well as the use of sanitary and phytosanitary measures,” the ministry said.

At the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia’s Vladivostok earlier this month, a proposal was unveiled to establish a free-trade zone between ASEAN and the EAEU in order to boost regional cooperation further.

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