Since the creation of the union state, Russia and Belarus have consistently expanded both the quantity and quality of the use of cooperation. Against the background of significant changes in the global economy, we have successively emerged the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Economic integration had a significant impact on the development of the Union State, as well as vice versa.
For twenty years, within the framework of the Union State, more than 57 programs for the development of new technologies and the creation of new innovative products have been implemented. The current priority areas for the development of the Union State for 2018–2022 today include the “traditional” energy issue, the formation of a unified transport system, improvement of budgetary policy, implementation of a coordinated macroeconomic policy, development of the agricultural industry and a number of other areas.
Russia is naturally the leader among the trade partners of Belarus, its share in the total turnover of the country is in the range of 46-48 percent. At the same time, since 2009, there has been a systematic increase in the complementarity index of trade with Russia, which unites the structures of imports and imports between countries. According to calculations, over the period 2009-2020, it increased from 39 to 46.5, which indicates an increase in the interdependence of economies.
During this time, we were able to agree and remove all barriers that hinder economic cooperation. In five years, Belarus has eliminated 13 barriers, including excessive requirements and procedures in relation to the technical regulations of the EAEU. On the part of Russia, most of the barriers applied to a partner related to temporary restrictions on the import of goods originating from the territory of neighbors. The scandals with Polish apples and Norwegian salmon are still remembered. Fortunately, now this is history.
The total volume of direct investments from Russia in the Belarusian economy exceeded $ 4.5 billion by the beginning of 2021. Among the largest partner projects are the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, the carbon production plant “Omsk Carbon Mogilev”, the plant for the processing of oilseeds (the investor is the Sodruzhestvo Group of Companies). More than 2.4 thousand enterprises with Russian participation now work here.
At the same time, the most important achievement of the Union State is to ensure equal labor rights for citizens of Russia and Belarus. This applies to rights in wages, working hours and rest, labor protection and working conditions. As part of the creation of a single migration space, the permissive procedure for hiring to work has been canceled. Since 2006, the equality of the rights of citizens of the two countries to pensions has been implemented. Hence the growth of Belarusian labor migrants arriving at the Russian market. For the period 2016-2019 the number of labor migrants from Belarus on the Russian market is more than 1.5 times from 98 to 163 thousand people. In turn, this factor influences, among other things, the income of the population. So, the real income index of the population of neighbors has been growing continuously since 2017 and even in the event of a pandemic, continued in 2020, having risen by 5.1 percent.
According to the estimates of the Russian Academy of Aviation Technologies and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Belarus receives the greatest benefit from integration within the EAEU and the Union State. The dynamics of its GDP was largely determined by the benefits from the integration processes of recent years. Over the past five years, the contribution of integration to the country’s GDP growth amounted to about 4 percent.
Now our countries need to move forward in more difficult areas. These are public procurement (barriers to participation remain on the part of both partners); supply of agricultural goods (sides of the systematic system of imposing restrictions on individual manufacturing companies); ongoing supplies of “sanctioned” goods to the Russian market through Belarus (one of the solutions in this situation is the introduction of product labeling); inequality in access to the transport services markets (for example, Belarusian carriers are not allowed to the domestic Russian road transport market).
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