Report: Eurasian Economic Integration (2019)

_ Eurasian Development Bank Center for Integration Studies. Moscow, 12 August 2019.

Eurasian Economic Integration – 2019. – Moscow: EDB Centre for Integration Studies, 2019. – 132 pp.

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The report presents the insights into evolution of Eurasian economic integration as at the end of 2018. It offers information on essential features of trade and economic interactions among the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member states and between the EAEU and third countries, and on the most significant aspects of integration processes both within the EAEU and across the world.

In particular, authors figure out that in 2018 the volume of mutual and external trade in goods by EAEU member states continued to grow under the influence of internal macroeconomic factors and external market factors. According to the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), in 2018 total value of mutual trade between EAEU member states (measured as the sum total of intra-union exports) increased by 9.2% year-on-year. However, mutual trade growth rate in 2018 was lower than in 2017 (+27.4% compared to 2016), which can be explained, for 2017, by the low base effect of 2016.

Generally, over the four years of EAEU operation, the volume of mutual trade between its member states has increased almost by one third. Trade integration of the five countries is expanding at a brisk pace.

One of the factors constraining expansion of intra-union trade and economic ties is the fact that EAEU exports are more focused on external trade than on internal trade. In 2018 turnover of external trade of EAEU member states with third countries was higher than turnover of mutual trade within the EAEU by a factor of 13, with the gap between external and mutual trade having widened for the last two years. This testifies to the existence of a significant potential for expansion of mutual trade.

By the way, trade complementarity index shows that the most suitable sales market for the EAEU is Italy (54%), followed, with a significant lag, by India (42%) and Greece (41%). Egypt, Uzbekistan, Greece, Algeria, and Malta are also suitable for the EAEU as importers. Germany and Italy are the most suitable exporters for the EAEU: their export structures match the EAEU import structure by 65% and 64%, respectively. Austrian and Polish export structures are also highly compatible with the EAEU (59% and 58%, respectively). Commodity structures of external trade of India and Brazil are almost equally favorable for exports to the EAEU and imports from the EAEU.

In 2018 all member states posted an increase in the export and import of services. However, the volume of trade in goods still significantly exceeds the volume of trade in services: in 2018 the aggregate EAEU external goods trade turnover (trade with EAEU partners and third countries) exceeded the aggregate external services trade turnover by a factor of four.

Also in 2018 capital investments in the EAEU continued to grow (+4% year-on-year, +19% since the inception of the EAEU). Capital investments work as a driver of real production – and of the economy as a whole, that is extremely important for the EAEU.

All the detailed information is available in the full version of the report «Eurasian Economic Integration – 2019».

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