Uzbekistan Moving Closer To Joining The Eurasian Economic Union
Bakhtiyor Ergashev, the Director of the Tashkent based Ma’No Centre for Research Initiatives has stated that Uzbekistan, which is currently an observer country in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), continues to gradually integrate into the organisation. According to him, a number of projects are underway to synchronise the legislative and regulatory framework governing customs, tariffs and other issues.
Ergashev estimates that all the necessary procedures for Uzbekistan’s full membership in the EAEU will take 2-3 years, stating that “I think that this process of Uzbekistan’s gradual and smooth entry into the EAEU, through the synchronisation of the legislative and regulatory framework in all areas, will be finalised in the next 2-3 years.”
Ergashev added that Uzbekistan’s full membership in the organisation will bring significant benefits to the EAEU economy and Uzbekistan in particular, as the markets of the Union’s countries are key and basic for the country. The EAEU includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. It also has free trade agreements with Iran, Serbia and Vietnam, while several other countries, including India, are currently negotiating. China also has an FTA with the EAEU and reduces tariffs within this framework on a selective basis.
Ergashev stated that the EAEU has significant potential, both in terms of resources and breakthrough technologies in various sectors. “We know that a number of countries want to conclude agreements with the EAEU countries to create a free trade zone. The Union is of great interest, because the organisation has great potential, both in terms of resource endowment, starting from oil, gas, grain, and ending with breakthrough technologies in the most modern industries.”
Ergashev emphasised that Russia’s nuclear industry, aircraft building, military-industrial complex are also of great interest to many countries that plan to join the EAEU. “The EAEU, as an economic partner, as an association that includes more than 200 million people, has a very serious potential for further growth. It will develop in a variety of formats and will expand,” he stated.
The Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has echoed these opinions, saying that the EAEU was open to new partners. “The Eurasian Economic Union now plays the role of one of the poles of the emerging multipolar world. And it remains open for new partners. We are well aware that in modern conditions there is a particular demand for increasing interaction with other countries and regional associations,” he said.