BRI NEWS Putin voices support for Asia-Pacific FTA, urges effective cooperation

BRI NEWS

Putin voices support for Asia-Pacific FTA, urges effective cooperation

Xinhua

19:55, November 09, 2017

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Russia's President Vladimir Putin in a press conference following the 2016 APEC summit in Lima Peru on November 20, 2016. Photo: VCG

Russia supports the idea of creating a free trade area (FTA) in the Asia Pacific region, which is believed to enhance the country's position in the Asia-Pacific market, President Vladimir Putin said in a signed article on Thursday.

"We support the idea of forming an Asia-Pacific free trade area. We believe this is in our practical interest and represents an opportunity to strengthen our positions" in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific markets, Putin said in an article entitled "The 25th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Da Nang: Together Towards Prosperity and Harmonious Development."

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting will be convened on Nov. 10-11 in Vietnam's central Da Nang city.

According to Putin, over the past five years, the share of APEC economies in Russia's foreign trade has increased from 23 to 31 percent, and from 17 to 24 percent in exports.

"And we have no intention of stopping there," he said in the article.

The Russian president suggested that the large-scale project to create the APEC FTA should be carried out with due account of the experience gained from implementing key integration formats in the Asia-Pacific region and Eurasia, including the Eurasian Economic Union, in which Russia cooperates with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

On a related note, Putin mentioned the Russian idea to create the Greater Eurasian Partnership, suggesting forming it on the basis of the Eurasian Economic Union and China's Belt and Road Initiative.

As comprehensive development of infrastructure will serve as the basis for effective integration, Russia is actively modernizing its sea and air ports in its Far East, developing transcontinental rail routes, and building new gas and oil pipelines, according to Putin.

Russia also "pays special attention to integrating its Siberian and Far Eastern territories into the network of the Asia Pacific region economic ties," he said.

These efforts include a whole range of measures to enhance the investment appeal of our regions, and to integrate Russian enterprises into international production chains.

For Russia, the development of its Far East is a national priority for the 21st century, which includes creating territories of advanced economic growth in the region, pursuing large-scale development of natural resources and supporting advanced high-tech industries, as well as investing in human capital, education and healthcare, and forming competitive research centers, said the article.

The Russian president, in this regard, calls for foreign partners, primarily from APEC economies, to play an active role in implementing these program and projects.

Besides, Russia has an equally serious approach to involving small and medium-sized businesses in APEC economic integration processes, and supporting female entrepreneurship and start-up companies run by young entrepreneurs.

"We believe that establishing effective cooperation to support innovation is the most important task in the dynamic era." the article reads.

As such, Russia has put forward a number of specific initiatives, including unifying digital economy and trade rules, harmonising national technical standards, coordinating strategies for forming high-tech markets, and creating a uniform conceptual framework for the digital space, it added.

Providing relief following natural disasters and man-made accidents, epidemics and pandemics is another challenge, noted the article.

"We need to tackle food security issues together and think about how to meet the region's rapidly growing demand for high-quality and health food," it reads.

"I am confident that, acting together, we will find acceptable solutions to the challenge of supporting the steady, balanced and harmonious growth of our shared region, and securing its prosperity. Russia is ready for such a collaborative effort," the Russian president pledged.

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