Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk attended the Eurasian Economic Forum.
The Deputy Prime Minister addressed the session on Strategy 2025: Shaping the Image of Future of the EAEU. New Spheres of Cooperation in the EAEU, held as part of the forum, via videoconference.
From the transcript:
Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues,
The Russian economy has demonstrated its resilience. The foreign exchange and financial markets have stabilised, and our national currency has strengthened significantly. Russia has seen no dramatic contraction of production or growth in unemployment and has avoided major goods shortages. The wave of rush demand has subsided, inflation has slowed down and we are observing signs of deflation.
The measures taken by the Government and the Bank of Russia have played a decisive role in keeping the economy stable. The solutions we have introduced have provided our economy and businesses with tools to adapt to the new situation and launch structural transformation of the economy.
How has this been achieved? First, we have simplified the rules for doing business as much as possible, the moratorium on audits being the most important change here. Regulatory authorities have reduced their weekly number of reviews to one sixth of last year’s figure, and their approach has also changed. Some of the auditors have been freed from their duties; any reviews performed are of a rather sporadic nature.
Secondly, we have injected working capital into our economy. The leading role here is played by preferential lending programmes, which are needed to support employment and wages, as well as the restructuring and expansion of production.
Another important and effective decision was to reduce interest on loans pegged on the Central Bank’s key rate. In addition, we have adopted a number of tax-related decisions, which freed up extra funds for businesses.
We gave companies deferrals for their insurance payments for the second and third quarter, postponing them for a year. It is important that we save people's time as much as possible – businesses do not need to apply for the deferral, as it is granted automatically.
Next, there is a package of policies to support importers. Here we are working very closely with our colleagues at the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission. In fact, today we have exempted about 1,300 goods from import duties, that is 15 percent of our imports. We have also raised the duty-free threshold from 200 to 1,000 euros, streamlined the procedure for declaring the safety of products, and to the greatest possible extent simplified and accelerated the clearance procedures for certain goods, primarily essential goods and food.
On 7 May, we launched the parallel import programme.
We have launched preferential loan programmes for importers to purchase goods. The state agreed to share the related risks with importers to make banks more willing to lend to them. Those loans can be used to purchase priority products.
The situation on the labour market has remained generally stable - largely due to the system-wide decisions we made to support various industries such as farming, construction, housing and utilities, the IT sector, the aviation industry, and railway transport.
Today, we have to comprehend as fully as possible a new reality and determine a longer planning horizon. We have to do this in the context of vulnerabilities and risks that manifested themselves during the Covid-19 pandemic and as a result of unprecedented illegitimate sanctions pressure on the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus and our Union State. Specific measures that have to be implemented and decisions that have to be drafted should correlate clearly with the Eurasian Economic Union’s strategy until 2025. We are talking about considerable structural shifts, and the planning horizon should therefore extend until 2030 and 2035.While perceiving current processes in the context of various vulnerabilities, we can see that the world is facing problems with energy resources, in the first place. We need to continue forging common energy markets within the framework of our union.We can see that food security matters are a highly acute problem. We can see that global food prices are skyrocketing, and we can see that the West is facing food shortages. At the same time, we realise that we manufacture the bulk of agricultural produce, and that this is our tremendous advantage. To realise this advantage, we need to more actively coordinate the regulation of our food markets within the EAEU and thus shield our population and our markets from possible negative external impacts.Speaking of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, we note the vulnerability of transnational transport and logistics chains. We have seen them rupture easily. It was impossible to deliver components from one country to another because ties between national economies were disrupted. Consequently, regionalisation and shorter transport and logistics chains are an issue that we have to address jointly within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union and in cooperation with countries that are friendly to us.This will primarily concern technological security and digital sovereignty matters, which is a critical aspect.It is also important to develop financial markets under our strategy. We need to introduce an independent and large-scale system of payments and settlements that will allow us to work calmly, instead of waiting for someone to decide to shut us off from some system or other.The Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakhstan and Belarus have such a system, and we need to more quickly integrate these systems and create an independent payment system, as well as a common space for payments in national currencies.The dollar and the euro are no longer reliable currencies. Consequently, we must set up our own payment system for facilitating trade in national currencies.We also have to set up our own insurance system and to develop our insurance market.Regarding the development of transport and logistic ties facilitating the interconnectivity of the Eurasian Economic Union’s member states, as well as our nearest friendly neighbours, we need to work more actively in order to integrate the EAEU with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and to speed up this process. It is also imperative to build the most important North-South corridor and to ensure interconnectivity with our southern neighbours. It is necessary to continue digital development, and we must keep abreast with the rest of the world in this field.These initiatives fit into our current strategy until 2025, and they will also create a foundation for our work until 2030 and 2035.