Did the other EAEU Member States Profit from Eurasian Integration and Russia’s Countersanction Policy?
April 15, 2020
_ Vienna-Munich, 14 April 2020 – Due to various factors, mainly Eurasian integration and Moscow’s countersanction policy, the four other member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – were able to increase their shares in various good imports to Russia between 2010/2015-2018. This is the result of a study by Yuri Kofner, editor-in-chief, analytical media “Eurasian Studies”, conducted for the Vienna-based Institute for Security Policy.
All four other EAEU member states gained from Eurasian integration in combination with Moscow’s import ban on Western agri-food products. Armenia was able to increase its share of deliveries of fruits and vegetables to Russia (from 0 to 0.8%), Kazakhstan – of meat and dairy products (from 0 to 0.9%), and Kyrgyzstan – of dairy products (from 0.4 to 0.7%). Belarus was able to significantly increase its share in Russian imports in all three food groups affected by the ban (from 0.6 to 4.5%; from 5.2 to 34.6%; and from 34 to 81%, respectivly).
In the industrial sector Belarus was the main beneficiary from Eurasian integration and from the cooldown in the Russo-Western economic relationship. Significant gains on the Russian market were made in such areas as: semi-finished textiles & clothing; finished chemicals (including pharmaceutical drugs) from 1.7 to 3,5%; transport equipment from 2.7 to 5.4% – motor vehicles and railroad equipment in particular (the latter from 0 to 15%); and elevators (from 12 to 25%). Kazakhstan was able to significantly increase its share in Russian imports of railroad equipment (from 0 to almost 6%) and of pharmaceutical products. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan were able to increase their market share in the field of finished textiles & clothing.
Considering the likely continuation of Moscow’s countersanction policy, Kofner proposes the following tasks under the Union’s “Industrial Cooperation Agenda” to increase the other EAEU member states’ benefits from Eurasian integration:
- Russia could de-facto open its public procurement market (almost 90% of total EAEU tenders value) to companies from the other EAEU member states. Currently, barriers such as heightened requirements for electronic digital signatures and bank guarantees being accepted only from Russian banks, make it virtually impossible for ARM, BLR, KAZ, KGZ to participate in Russian state procurement.
- Russia’s import substitution (localization) policy could be made more inclusive for its union partners. By 2019, out of the 45 “Special Investment Contracts” (SPIC) authorized by the Russian government, only one was signed with a daughter company from another EAEU member state – a Belarusian engineering company.
- The EAEU member states should concentrate on promising product groups in regard of joint import substitution and export potential to third parties. Previous studies identified as such: metallurgical production of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, production of basic chemical elements and pharmaceutical products, cultivation of plant agricultural products, clothing, elevators, space satellites for remote sensing of the earth, energy storage devices, as well as processing of rare earth elements. As a matter of fact, in 2010-2018 the joint share of BLR and KAZ in the import of energy storage devices to Russia increased from 0 to 8.6%.
- Following the successful European experience, the EAEU member states should introduce the supranational legal category of “Eurasian firms” (societas Eurasicaea) in order to foster industrial cooperation.
- Other key tasks include speeding up efforts to decrease non-tariff barriers to intra-union merchandise trade (Russia’s NTBs to the other EAEU member states are the highest and ammout to 32.4% in ad valorem terms), as well as to implement of the union’s “Digital Transformation Agenda until 2025”, which includes the creation of an electronic “industrialization map” and of an online subcontracting system.
The full study with detailed graphs and tables can be read here.Author : Kofner