Developing joint criteria for assessing climate projects will help identify specific sectors and areas for mutually beneficial cooperation, as well as create conditions for free circulation of such projects results — carbon units. This opinion was expressed by Andrey Slepnev, Minister in charge of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission, speaking at the session "SCO and EAEU Climate Agenda: Moving Towards Common Goals" as part of the Eastern Economic Forum – 2023.
"We have created the Eurasian taxonomy in the EAEU, which makes it possible to equally assess projects in terms of their sustainable financing, and provide access to relevant platforms and exchanges. Nowadays, we actively discuss the issue with the PRC. I think we should create a joint EAEU-China taxonomy,” he stated.
When it comes to free circulation of carbon units, it is important to develop their own project methodologies, which could be coupled with similar standards of third countries describing the criteria of climate projects. In this regard, the question is raised of creating such standards that will be applied at the interstate level — for example, within the CIS with expansion to the SCO format.
"Working in the SCO regime, we already approach such a critical mass, when our regulation becomes truly international, it couples with the European regulation and can become a managed platform that will enable protecting our interests," Andrey Slepnev expressed confidence.
Furthermore, the EEC Minister touched upon the issue of supporting various sector-specific areas where companies are ready to move forward with the climate agenda. In particular, in transport, it would be important to obtain such regulation that would enable certifying rail transportation as "green".
"This is needed to understand the carbon footprint in transportation, let's say, from China to Europe or transportation along the North-South corridor. Since this carbon footprint will soon begin to be taken into account for the purposes of access to foreign markets for any products. And whoever is the first to make such a system, that will be trusted at the international level, and will be verified, will take the lead in the competition," Andrey Slepnev explained. This entails international cooperation and mutual recognition of results, as well as the formation of a trustworthy infrastructure.
The Minister also touched upon the trade aspects of the carbon agenda, where the main role is played by the carbon price, which differs significantly from country to country. In his opinion, to avoid trade barriers, an answer will have to be given as to how to shape this carbon price and what it will ultimately be like.
Speaking at the Russia-Mongolia Business Dialogue, Andrey Slepnev reminded that Mongolia was among the priority areas of the EAEU work on the external track. At the same time, the Union partners cannot but be concerned that despite the growth of mutual trade turnover to almost 3 bln dollars, there is a noticeable trade imbalance. “We proceed from the fact that Mongolian goods are underrepresented in our market. This situation should be corrected,” the Minister emphasized.
Speaking, in particular, about the problems of Mongolian meat supplies, Andrey Slepnev noted that historically, veterinary problems were not new there, but they were successfully resolved in the Soviet period. Nowadays, according to the expert estimate, the EAEU is able to increase the purchase of Mongolian meat in the shortest term in the amount of up to 50 ths tons. Moreover, this entails such premium items as cattle meat, horse meat, and lamb meat, where the Union has a balance deficit in the internal market. "Establishing joint ventures enabling to ensure the processing of products and control the epizootic situation looks promising as well," Andrey Slepnev stated.
Similar solutions may be in the situation with the supply of light industry goods. In this regard, the EEC Minister in charge of Trade has informed that according to the study of the prospects for concluding a free trade agreement with Mongolia, the effect of simply zeroing a number of tariffs will provide an increase in the flow of Mongolian goods to the EAEU in the amount of about 50-70 mln dollars.
"And if we really build a full-fledged cooperation on the basis of joint projects, and joint roadmap, — the effects of a completely different order will follow. We calculated that in the next couple or three years, this will amount to 230-250 mln dollars. But this requires targeted work: in light industry, agriculture, and transit along the China-Mongolia-Russia corridor. For its part, the EEC is ready for such work," Andrey Slepnev concluded.
Furthermore, Andrey Slepnev held a meeting with Tadzio Schilling, Director General of the Association of European Businesses. During the event, the Minister answered questions from companies operating in the EAEU, in particular, regarding the EEC plans in the field of tariff and non-tariff customs regulation.