8 Nov 2017 21:51

Putin sees in creation of Asia Pacific FTA chance to boost Russia's position on APR markets

MOSCOW. Nov 8 (Interfax) - Russia supports the idea of creating an Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area (FTA), which would help the country consolidate its position in the regional market, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"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 APR markets," Putin wrote in an article called "The 25th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Da Nang: Together Towards Prosperity and Harmonious Development."

The summit will be held in Vietnam on November 10-11.

Over the past five years, the APEC economies' share in Russia's foreign trade has increased from 23% to 31% and in exports from 17% to 24%, Putin wrote, adding that "we have no intention of stopping there."

He believes that the project to create an APEC FTA should reflect the experiences of key Asia-Pacific and Eurasian integration formats, not least the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

"Our union has been developing dynamically, and we are eager to build relations with all countries and associations that are interested in doing so," Putin wrote.

The EAEU already has an FTA agreement with Vietnam, recently concluded talks with China over a trade and economic cooperation agreement and began talks with Singapore, and is working on the possibility of signing an agreement with the Association of Southeastern Nations, he wrote.

Efficient Eurasian integration should be based on the comprehensive development of infrastructure, including transport, telecommunications, and power, Putin wrote.

"We are committed to implementing bilateral and multilateral infrastructure projects which will link our economies and markets. Among other projects, I am referring to the Energy Super Ring that unites Russia, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, and the Sakhalin-Hokkaido transport link," Putin wrote.

For Russia, developing its Far East is a national priority of the 21st century, he wrote.

"We are talking about creating territories of advanced economic growth in that 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," Putin wrote.

He hopes that "our foreign partners, primarily from APEC economies, will play an active role in implementing these programs and projects."

He also suggested the eventual formation of "a common APR education space, one of whose centers could be the Far Eastern Federal University."