TASS | 13 November 2014
Eurasian Economic Union eyes free trade zone with Asia-Pacific countries — Medvedev
The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan may establish a free trade zone with the Asia-Pacific countries, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
"We (Eurasian Economic Union) are individually conducting talks on setting up a free trade zone, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has come the closest to agreeing on a deal," Medvedev told journalists. Medvedev specified that Russia and Vietnam "have agreed on almost all the issues."
"If this experience proves to be successful, Vietnam will get access to the common market of the Eurasian Economic Union, and we will be able to use this in regard to other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) states," he said.
Medvedev stressed that Russia carefully studies the initiatives on integration associations in the Asia-Pacific Region, namely China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pushed by the US. "This does not mean that we will join them, but we are looking into what will result from this," he said.
Many analysts see ongoing negotiations on setting up the RCEP by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Six group as Beijing’s counterweight to the US-led TPP of 12 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, which is designed to exclude China.