The Republic of Kazakhstan is an initiator and active participant of many integration processes. The idea of Eurasian integration was outlined for the first time by President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1994. This initiative, which was considered audacious at that moment, had had an ambiguous perception at first. However, over the course of time it has been developed and received support.
As a result, the Customs Union and later the Common Economic Space were established, while on January 1, 2015, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia founded the Eurasian Economic Union. At that year the Republic of Armenia and Kyrgyz Republic became the full-fledged members of the EAEU.
Along with the European Union that started to develop in the middle of the 20th century, the EAEU became the second example of the sound economic union in the world.
The EAEU is not a political organization. During the work on the EAEU Treaty the member-states willfully refused to politicize the union and to include the issues affecting the national sovereignty in the competencies of the EAEU. Therefore, the EAEU solely deals with issues of economic cooperation, and ensures the principles of the sovereign equality, equality of rights and consideration of national interests of the member-states.
The EAEU is an international organization of regional economic integration based on the treaties reached by member-states within the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space.
The EAEU provides free movement of goods, services, capital and labor, pursues coordinated, harmonized and single policy in the economic sectors determined by the Treaty and international treaties within the EAEU.
The EAEU has been established to create the conditions for sustainable economic development of the member countries to improve the living standards of population; to form the common market of goods, services, capital and labor; to promote the comprehensive modernization, cooperation and increase the competitiveness of the states in the context of global economy.
The economic potential of Eurasian integration is very high. The aggregate economic indicator of the states constitutes more than $2.2 trillion, the population of the member-states amounts to more than 180 million people.
Being a landlocked country, Kazakhstan has declared the reduction of transport costs as the most important systemic aspect of its economical growth and diversification. The EAEU agreements on access to the infrastructure and national commodity transit tariffs of partner countries allowed Kazakh business community to decrease transport costs. Correspondingly, it increased the competitiveness of Kazakhstani products in external markets.
Common standards on technical regulations in line with veterinary-sanitary and phytosanitary control allow the circulation of products within the territory of the EAEU member-states on unified requirements and equal terms.
The benefits of free movement of labor have been felt already by citizens and the businesses of the EAEU member-states. Common citizens of the EAEU member-states can freely be employed in any EAEU state on the basis of labor contract or civil law contract without obtaining licenses for exercise of occupation, and use respective academic certificates without recognition procedures. The set of documents aimed at creating the common market of medicines and medical products adopted in 2016 allows boosting production of pharmacy in Kazakhstan, creating new jobs, decreasing prices and raising the quality of medicines produced on the territory of the EAEU member-states.
The common electric power market will be established by 2019 that will provide the effective price policy and increase energy production and export of the member-states. Within the common electric power market, the possibility of energy shortages will reduce.
The EAEU member-states agreed to form the common market of oil and petroleum products by 2025. Energy companies of the EAEU countries will get non-discriminatory access to oil infrastructure of the partners and will be able to buy crude oil and oil products without quantitative restrictions at a non-discriminatory price without export duties. Besides, the non-discriminatory access to gas infrastructure will be provided by 2025. Kazakhstan is highly interested in the solution of these issues.
The agreements of the non-discriminatory access to infrastructure of partner countries allow reducing transport costs of our export companies. Accordingly the competitiveness of Kazakh export products, including European countries, will rise. There are interlinked systems of oil and petroleum products supply between the EAEU member-states. Common trade rules without barriers will provide stability and balance in functioning of these systems.
In conditions of global economic slowdown, Kazakhstan's membership in the EAEU creates an essential basis for economic diversification and increasing productivity.
Besides, the efforts within the EAEU focused on energizing international contacts. The enhancement of trade and economic relations with main partners and emerging markets should serve as a momentum for increasing the role the EAEU on the entire continent. The evidence for attractiveness of the EAEU is interest shown by more than 30 countries in cooperation with the EAEU in a form of non-preferential trade agreements or establishing free-trade zones.
Nowadays more than 25 memorandums on cooperation between the EAEU and various countries including Mongolia, Chile, Peru, Singapore and Cambodia were undersigned.
The Free Trade Agreement on with Vietnam, the first preferential agreement within the EAEU, entered into force on October 5, 2016. There is a mandate to conduct negotiations with the PRC, Israel and Serbia. Upon the decisions of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council negotiations on the signing free trade agreements with Iran, India, Egypt and Singapore were approved in St. Petersburg on December 26, 2016. Partners from South America and the Republic of Korea are also the interested in establishing cooperation with the EAEU.
The search for common ground for cooperation with the EU and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is being conducted. Besides, the member-states embarked on a course of interface of the EAEU to the Chinese initiative of Economic Belt of Silk Road.
In general, Kazakhstan supports gradual integration processes on a wide geographical area of Eurasia what will give a powerful multiplicative impetus to the global economic development.
The cooperation within the EAEU is provided in such spheres, as:
-customs tariff and non-tariff regulation;
-sanitary, veterinary-sanitary and quarantine-phytosanitary measures;
-assignment and distribution of import customs duties;
-establishment of trade regimes for third parties;
-statistics of foreign and mutual trade;
-industrial and agricultural subsidies;
-state and/or municipal procurements;
-services trade and investments;
-financial markets (banking, ensurance, currency market, securities' market).
The EAEU bodies are the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (heads of the member-states), the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council (heads of member-governments), the Eurasian Economic Commission, and the EAEU Court situated in Minsk.
The EEC is composed of two levels – the Council and the Board. The Board of the Commission consists of 10 members, 2 representatives from each country. The Council is represented by five deputy prime ministers of the member-states. The EEC headquarters is situated in Moscow. Tigran Sargsyan, the representative of Armenia was appointed as the Chairman of the Board for a period of 4 years (since 1st February 2016).
All the decisions made by the Supreme and Intergovernmental Councils and the Council of the Commission are based on the principle of consensus which allow taking national interests of the member-states into the account.
The Board of the Commission takes decisions by consensus and medium majority vote. The decisions on sensitive issues are adopted by consensus, others are made be qualified majority by two-thirds of votes.
Meanwhile, any decision made by the Board may be revised by the parent bodies of the Union, including the Council of the Commission, Intergovernmental Council and the Supreme Council. As a last resort any issue may be challenged in the EAEU Court.
Upon the proposal of Kazakhstan, in structural units, such as the Commission and the Court, positions of Directors and Deputy Directors are held by representatives of the member-states with consideration of compliance with principles of equal representation.
Today, the EEC consists of 25 departments, in which each member-state is represented by 5 directors and 13 deputy directors. Other personnel is appointed proportionally to the participation interest of the member-states in financing of the bodies. The actual staff of the EEC is 1071 people.
In general, activity of the EAEU is aimed at raising welfare and quality of life of the nations of the member-states. The EAEU is a powerful incentive for the development and comprehensive modernization of national economies and for promotion of their leading positions in the world.