EEU to think about forming currency union

ASTANA. KAZINFORM - The Eurasian Economic Union will think about forming a currency union, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters after the meeting with the leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan in Astana, BelTA informs.

The presidents agreed to continue coordinating the monetary policy. "We think the time has come to talk about forming a currency union in the future," Vladimir Putin said. "It is easier to protect the common financial market when working shoulder to shoulder," the Russian President added.

According to him, the talks between the Presidents were nto long but very intensive and informative. The heads of state discussed the entire range of issues between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. The countries have close trade and investment ties. The aggregate GDP of the troika is 85% of the CIS gross product. Russia ranks first in foreign trade of Belarus and Kazakhstan. In 2014, Russia's trade with the two countries totaled nearly $60 billion. Belarus and Kazakhstan together hold the third place in the trade balance of the Russian Federation. Investment cooperation has been expanding. The volume of Russian investment in the economy of Belarus and Kazakhstan reached $18 billion. In turn, Belarus and Kazakhstan have invested about $10 billion in Russia. More than 7,000 joint ventures have been set up.

Vladimir Putin believes that an important area of partnership is the industrial and technological cooperation. The countries have been carrying out joint projects in the engineering industry, strengthening ties in the space industry and implementing the roadmap on the joint use of the Baikonur cosmodrome 2014-2016. The energy industries of the three states are interdependent. They closely cooperate in the production, transportation and processing of hydrocarbon raw materials. Russia supports Belarus and Kazakhstan in their nuclear energy programs. Rosatom is building a nuclear power plant in Belarus where the first unit will be launched as early as 2018, is working on the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan, and is involved in the joint production of uranium.

The situation in the global economy that remains fragile was also on the agenda of the Astana meeting. "Low business activity, the stagnation of the global economy, and the volatility of commodity markets have a direct impact on the CIS countries. In 2014, the aggregate GDP growth of the CIS states was only 0.9%. This year the aggregate GDP is expected to decline by approximately 1.4%," said the Russian head of state.

As for Russia, Vladimir Putin noted that in 2014 its GDP edged up by 0.6% despite the fall in oil prices. "However, our economic situation is not simple. In this context, we have developed a RUB2.3trln anti-crisis plan to support the Russian economy and social sector. Our main goal is to support the industrial and agricultural sectors and to improve the situation with employment. I am convinced that the implementation of these measures will help us gradually restore the sustainable economic growth," the Russian President said.

Vladimir Putin invited the Presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan to take part in the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Victory in Moscow. He also noted that Belarusian and Kazakhstani veterans will take part in the Victory Day parade in Res Square on 9 May 2015.

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