Maxim Oreshkin: Russia Is Interested in APEC Regional Integration Processes


Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin took part in the Joint Meeting of APEC foreign and trade ministers in Da Nang. It concerned deepening regional economic integration and supporting competitiveness and innovation potential of micro, small and medium enterprises in the digital age.

APEC, including due to its geographical scope, plays a pivotal role in development of international trade and countering global economic challenges that undermine stability of the multilateral trading system. "It is of importance to preserve this role and work together to reverse the thrust of discussions in multilateral trade development to a constructive track," said Maxim Oreshkin.

According to Maxim Oreshkin, it is necessary to continue working together in order to find new effective tools for balancing the effects of economic globalization, for all participants in the multilateral trading system. "The multilateral trading system has already got such a universal mechanism, the WTO. Now we need to look for new levers to adapt this mechanism to modern economic realities," he added.

The forthcoming 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) is to open a window of opportunity for sharpening the World Trade Organization available tools and unique function as the sole trade regulator. "We should not allow the preparation for the WTO MC11 to stumble on the non-constructive position of individual economies. We should be able to find a balance between the interests," said the Head of the Russian delegation. There is a number of negotiation areas for which consensus can be possible. However, a unified attitude and a constructive approach of all participants are required in order to achieve mutually acceptable solutions.

The Minister noted that at the same time we were also facing challenges of globalization in the context of the integration processes that are actively developing around the globe, in particular, in the Asia-Pacific. He stressed that regional integration processes and our APEC initiatives should be carried out in accordance with the WTO rules and harmoniously complement the multilateral trading system.

Russia is actively evolving an integration project of its own: the Eurasian Economic Union, said Maxim Oreshkin. Serious attention is being paid to cooperation with the Asia-Pacific countries, including through participation in regional integration processes. The first experience of concluding regional trade agreements at the EAEU level was an agreement with Vietnam. It came into effect a year ago (October 2016), and now there have been results.

An essential item of the integration agenda for Russia is implementation of the Greater Eurasian Partnership foreign economic concept, which envisages forging of a multi-level integration model for the Eurasian continent open to stakeholder countries, including those of EAEU, SCO and ASEAN. "We are committed to transform the Eurasian space into the most convenient environment for  movement of services, capital and commodities, minimize administrative costs and jointly develop effective value chains and forge some new ones," said Maxim Oreshkin. Given its geographical location and involvement in the multilateral trading system and integration projects in the region, Russia cannot but feel interested in the prospects of APEC regional integration processes.

For quite some time now, the forum has been given the role of an incubator for necessary initiatives and processes to create the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).
 Of course, much has been already done. Based on the findings of the FTAAP focused Collective Strategic Research, which was conducted last year, joint approaches

have been forged to further establishment of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. "It is important to jointly implement the Action Plan to achieve the goals set forth in the Lima Declaration Action Plan and to contribute to filling the instrument with concrete and relevant areas that are of interest to all APEC economies," Maxim Oreshkin said.