Despite sanctions: EU and Eurasian Union increase trade

_ Ekaterina Postnikova, Irena Shekoyan. Moscow, 4 October, 2018.

By the end of 2017, trade between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union increased by 20%, despite the introduction of bilateral sanctions between the EU countries and Russia. This was reported to Izvestia in the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC).

This information was confirmed by the Delegation of the European Union in Russia. They stressed that for further sustainable growth in bilateral trade, a greater degree of interaction between the economies of the EU and the EAEU would be needed.

Entrepreneurs of the countries of the European Union are still set to work with the members of the EAEU,  noted experts from the Eurasian Economic Commission. They expressed hope for a pragmatic approach from their European colleagues.

– It is not a secret for anybody that the business of the EU countries is still set to cooperate with partners from the EAEU countries. Moreover, by the end of 2017, growth in trade with the European Union amounted to more than 20%, the press service of the EEC told Izvestia. – Of course, we are far from the volume of trade that existed before the imposition of sanctions five years ago against the Union’s key economy, Russia. But there is a positive trend, and it can be assumed that this kind of pragmatism will continue to be observed.

“Indeed, in 2017, the trade turnover between the European Union and Russia grew by about 20% compared with the previous year, and this happened for the first time after a decline in trade in 2013, when there were no sanctions yet,” the press service of the EU delegation in Moscow told Izvestia.

They noted that EU sanctions have a clearly defined scope. Because of this, they have a limited impact on bilateral trade.

In order to have a more growth in bilateral trade, we need a large degree of interaction between the two economies, as well as comparable regulation based on international standards and a functioning domestic market within the EAEU. All this should lead to an increase in the technological level and production, – summed up the representative of the EU Delegation to Russia.

The European Union acts on the principle of consensus, and at the moment thery have not reached an agreed understanding on a potential deepened cooperation between the EU and the EAEU, said Yuri Kofner, researcher with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria.

– There are countries that advocate closer cooperation. These are Germany, France, Italy and the Czech Republic. And then there are EU member state who oppose this, including Poland and the Baltic countries. The position of this latter group is motivated solely by political reasons, because from an economic point of view, working with the EAEU would be most beneficial to  precisely them, the expert explained.

2019 might become a decisive year for the European Union. Some events might affect future cooperation of the EU with the EAEU. In particular, Brexit (the UK is the most skeptical towards detente with Russia) ass well as the the European Parliament elections in May. Mass immigration may lead to a larger share of conservative political forces, many of which support stronger cooperation with Russia.


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