SPIEF-2021: EAEU-ASEAN Business Dialogue

03 june 2021

The Russia-ASEAN Business Council and the Eurasian Economic Commission with the support of the Roscongress Foundation, conducted EAEU-ASEAN Business Dialogue, which took place on June 3, 2021 within St. Petersburg International Economic Forum-2021.

Chairman of the Russia-ASEAN Business Council Ivan Polyakov in his welcoming speech noted that the EAEU-ASEAN business dialogue, which is taking place for the third time, is the only business dialogue in the SPIEF program that takes place in the format of cooperation between the two regional associations. It was also noted that 2021 marks a double anniversary – the 30th anniversary of the establishment of relations between Russia and ASEAN and the 25th anniversary of the full-format Dialogue Partnership between Russia and ASEAN.

Member of the Board (Minister) for Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission Sergey Glazyev noted in his speech that ASEAN as an integration union is distinguished by high complementarity and connectivity of economies, significant rates of development and the use of advanced technologies in foreign trade. He said that the Eurasian Economic Union has established not only good contacts with many ASEAN countries, but also formalized cooperation, in particular, as a format of free trade agreements with Vietnam and Singapore, he added that consultations have begun on the preparation of such an agreement with Indonesia. "Our integration associations are so profound and developed that it may be worth considering the conclusion of a preferential trade regime between the EAEU and ASEAN," said Sergey Glazyev.

In his video address, ASEAN Secretary General H.E. Dato Lim Jok Hoi emphasized that cooperation between the EAEU and ASEAN is gaining momentum, but does not yet meet the potential capabilities of the two integration associations, so he drew attention to the low level of trade turnover between the EAEU and ASEAN at $ 19.8 billion. According to the ASEAN Secretary-General, digitalization and sustainable growth are key areas for economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, and they will form the strategic basis for the future development.

Rosaimeriyanti Rahman, Chair of the ASEAN City Business Advisory Board, spoke about the priorities of Brunei Darussalam, the ASEAN Presidency in 2021, which include the recovery of national economies after the COVID-19 pandemic through digitalization of economies and inclusive growth. She noted that the ASEAN Business Advisory Council intends to make efforts to improve health systems, develop small and medium-sized businesses, and simplify trade procedures.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Alexey Gruzdev drew attention to the most promising areas of cooperation with the ASEAN countries, in particular, mechanical engineering, automotive, aviation, chemical industry, as well as pharmaceuticals and the production of medical equipment. "Russia expresses its readiness not only to export its products, but is also ready to work out the possibility of organizing joint production in the ASEAN countries, we have positive examples, for example, a joint venture for production of GAZ cars which is operating in Vietnam," the deputy minister noted.

The Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia, Muhammad Lutfi, noted that Indonesia is interested in comprehensive cooperation with the EAEU countries: export, import, technology transfer. "Indonesia, as an archipelago country, is interested in acquiring aircraft, helicopters and other transport equipment from Russia and from the EAEU member states as a whole," said Muhammad Lutfi.

The Governor of the Kamchatka Territory, Vladimir Solodov, spoke about the tourism potential of his region, noting that the necessary infrastructure is actively developing in the subject. He said that the Kamchatka Territory also is initiating the establihing an international center for research on climate change in the world's oceans and invited experts from the ASEAN countries to join this initiative.

The speakers of the business dialogue were also Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Thailand to Russia Sasiwat Wongsinsawat, President of the ASEAN Business Club Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, Chairman of Makati Business Club (Philippines) Edgar O. Chua, General Director of the Russian Energy Agency of Energy Ministry of the Russian Federation Alexey Kulapin, Managing Director of Adinin Group of Companies (Brunei) Musa Adnin, Rector of The Saint Petersburg University of Economics Igor Maksimtsev.

There was an active discussion of promising areas and initiatives to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation between the EAEU and ASEAN in the trade, economic, investment and scientific spheres during the business dialogue.