In tourism and economics, a regional approach has become the modern trend
Those who support the Eurasian Economic Union say it will integrate trade, investment, and humanitarian cooperation of neighboring countries and has become reality despite negative and unfounded criti
Those who support the Eurasian Economic Union say it will integrate trade, investment, and humanitarian cooperation of neighboring countries and has become reality despite negative and unfounded criticism of many political circles. On May 29, 2014 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, the signing of an agreement to establish the Eurasian Economic Union took place. The organization will commence work on January 1, 2015. The Eurasian Union will be a new form of economic integration between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, who already share a customs union incorporating 85% of GDP of the CIS region.
Twenty years earlier, on March 29, 1994, the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, first proposed the idea of integration through the Eurasian Economic Union. His concept was that shared history, common economic bases, close cultural ties, and similar national aspirations gave people a chance to build multilateral international connections.
Though misunderstood and underestimated by most politicians of the former USSR at the time, the idea nowadays became widely popular in the business community and on a socio-humanitarian level. Numerous integration platforms emerged and now successfully operate, such as the Eurasian Development Bank, Eurasian Business Council, Eurasian Media-Forum, Eurasian Universities Association, and many others.
The primary purpose of the EEU is to foster economic cooperation and mutually beneficial forms of trade. The Eurasian Economic Union can indeed be interesting from a pragmatic point of view as it aims to improve access to goods in their traditional markets.
The decisions that brought integration were neither superficial nor quick. They were thought through and fostered by the public and the government, and most importantly, are based on economic requirements of all participating countries and the confluence of their interests, expectations, and hopes.
Most experts agree that the Eurasian Union, Customs Union, and the perspective CIS common economic area will be able to shelter the participating countries from what former President Dmitry Medvedev called the strengthening turbulent processes that shake the global economy.
For counties experiencing this turbulence, it is more than apparent that it is better to weather it together, sharing resources, capabilities, and scientific and technological cooperation; in other words, using all the advantages of collective pull of resources and strengths.
The formation of the Eurasian Economic Community, as a first step towards the Eurasian Economic Union planned for 2015, was an informed political decision based on the facts that economic integration is mutually beneficial, provides access to resources necessary to improve the wellbeing of the nation, strengthens the economic potential, and fosters scientific-technological development.
Recently, efforts have been made by the leadership of EEU countries to speed up the process, as the meetings to discuss important integration procedures and their realization became more frequent.
Principally, for the first time since the post-Soviet area, a supranational organization has been formed – the Eurasian Economic Commission. The commission is practically a prototype for the governing body of the union.
The main parameters for the current stage of the integration process are already affixed to the relevant documents. It is clear that the Customs Union will currently be the main instrument of these processes. We are talking about lowering barriers for trade, investment, and labor mobility, as well as creating common economic standards. The Customs Union will, of course, be a mechanism for building relationships with other integration groups and counties, because the world is moving towards formation of continental and possibly transcontinental blocks.
Today the integration processes between the European Union and NAFTA (USA, Canada, and Mexico) are already taking shape. The European Union and China are sharing active consultations on a free trade zone, and the USA has the Trans-Pacific. In general, a regional approach has become a modern trend, as solving all the issues solely through World Tourism Organization is difficult.
In the case of the EU, many countries jumped to an unjustified conclusion that a Customs Union and Eurasian integration is an attempt at restore the Soviet Union. Consequently, the Customs Union’s many offers for cooperation and requests for experience sharing have not been answered in Europe.
Alternatively, the European Union could have made an effort to share its experience and help build Eurasian integration processes to insure the EU would have a reliable partner in the east. Unfortunately, this was not the case due to the prevalence of the 20th century belief that any association with Russia is a threat to western interests.
Nonetheless, the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council and the Eurasian Economic Commission are operating successfully. Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Russia apply a Common Customs Code and coordinate macroeconomic policy. The cumulative economic volume of the three counties is over US$2.2 trillion. Industrial output for 2013 is US$1.5 trillion. The prospective value added to GDP by 2030 from the integration effect is estimated at around US$900 billion. It is symbolic that the signing of the historic integration document will take place in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, on the 20th anniversary of the birth of the idea. A number of other countries have shown interest in participation.
Eurasian integration offers participating countries a strategic advantage in the coming third industrial revolution, which is taking place during the dramatic shift of world order towards multi-polarity. The current global instability is not just an economic crisis, but also that of international law and global politics, which G8 and G20 prove unable to handle. That is why in 2012, President N. Nazarbayev proposed a G-Global initiative, supported by 160 countries. G-Global incorporates the fundamental principles of the 21st century: evolution, justice, equality, consensus, global tolerance and trust, global transparency, and constructive multi-polarity.
The idea of a Eurasian Economic Union with wide popular support, including the scientific society, became a strategic program for practical actions by the EurAsEC; the free trade zone for the majority of CIS countries; Customs Union; and the Common Economic Space of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus.
The main goal of the Eurasian Economic Union in the first half of the 21st century is to become a key global economic macro-region, placing participating countries on level playing field with the most developed countries. The Eurasian Economic Union must include a system of indicators to measure the integrations’ influence on populations’ welfare growth, productivity, and economic competitiveness. The whole process of a Eurasian Integration most importantly must be functionally and practically devoted to solving this civilizing mission.