India has commenced negotiations with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) over a Free Trade Agreement that is likely to focus on trade supplies to Russia as a result of EU sanctions affecting Russian consumer markets. The EAEU came into effect on January 1 this year, establishing a bloc of ex-Soviet states that is the Eastern European and Central Asian version of the European Union. Members of the EEU include Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia, with Kyrgyzstan set to join shortly, and Tajikistan and Turkey having been approached about joining.
The EAEU has generated much interest in China, which may also commence negotiations concerning a Free Trade Zone as this fits in with proposed Silk Road Economic Belt plans that effectively unite Eurasia through infrastructure, mutual cooperation, security and trade. If realized, China’s plans would unite the entire Eurasian land mass from the EU to Moscow, Tehran and the Gulf States, Delhi, Beijing and South-East Asia.
Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman signed off an agreement to commence discussions on the India-EAEU FTA with Minister of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission Andrei Slepnev during the recent 2015 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Trade between India and Russia has fallen, and with Russia now looking east for supplies given its ongoing political problems and sanctions with Europe, it is increasingly looking east for trade and development opportunities.
India is also a significant shareholder, along with China and Russia, of the newly instigated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and has also just been granted membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meaning India too has high level expectations of developing into Central Asia and the Eurasian region.
Details of the India-EAEU FTA will appear on this website when they are released.
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