On January 1, 2023, Russia assumed the chairmanship in the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council and the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission.
Since its foundation in 2015, the Eurasian Economic Union has been developing steadily, clearly demonstrating its effectiveness and relevance. Over this period, the absolute volume of mutual trade between the Union Member States increased by 60% and in 2021 reached a historic high of $73.1 billion, while the foreign trade volume grew by 46%, to $846.3 billion. Moreover, the share of high value-added non-resource products in the Union's domestic trade turnover increases every year. Per capita GDP growth amounted to 28.7% and the share of payments in national currencies approached 75%
Our close integration is a worthy response to global problems exacerbated by the pandemic and unlawful sanctions imposed by a number of countries, such as poverty, climate change and shortage of resources, including the essential ones – food, water and energy. It is obvious that the Union has every opportunity to become one of the powerful, independent and self-sufficient poles in the emerging multi-polar world, to be a center of attraction for all the independent states sharing our values and seeking cooperation with the EAEU.
Of course, we will do our best to facilitate further deepening of integration in all areas: in politics, economy, industry, finance and technology. In this regard, we find it reasonable to perform a joint assessment of the progress in implementing the current Strategic Directions for Developing the Eurasian Economic Integration until 2025 and to set about preparing new long-term planning documents as early as this year to determine the main vectors of integrative cooperation for the periods to 2030 and 2045.
It is obvious that one of the crucial strategic priorities in our joint work should be developing the technological potential of the EAEU Member States and achieving true independence and self-sufficiency in this field. We propose to join efforts in developing and introducing cutting-edge scientific and technological solutions in such leading economic sectors as the automotive and chemical industries, transport engineering, microelectronics, the aircraft industry, shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals, digital ecosystems, alternative energy, agricultural equipment manufacturing, bioengineering and seed production.
Our agenda also includes enhancing interaction in the field of digital transformation. For instance, the launch of the EAEU Integrated Information System and supranational systems for monitoring product circulation will allow to identify hazardous and low-quality goods and to remove them from the Union's market. It is necessary that the Union Member States expedite the process of coordinated introduction of electronic legally relevant document processing by establishing legal and technological conditions for mutual recognition of such documents. It is important that digital technologies and solutions are introduced to economic activities in all EAEU countries based on common principles and approaches that it is reasonable to formalize in a separate document by the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council.
Our countries have a robust argo-industrial base allowing not only to secure all our needs in agricultural products but also to export foodstuffs in substantial quantities. In order to improve food security, we propose joint designing of a wide range of measures aimed at further development of the agricultural sector.
I would like to note that the EAEU also traditionally holds leading positions in the energy sector. There is no doubt that the work to create common energy markets should carry on in systemic and considered manner. In turn, our most advanced nuclear power technologies applied for peaceful purposes will allow to address the energy transition issue confidently.
We see our topical task in consistent mitigation of economic risks created by using foreign currencies and payment systems in mutual trade. We assume that an indispensable condition for stable settlement relations within the Union is connecting our partners to the Bank of Russia's financial messaging system and developing inter-system cooperation between the national payment systems. Harmonization of financial markets should create favorable conditions for the capital of Member States to remain within the association and be invested in national economies. In addition, we deem it reasonable to look into the feasibility of creating a Eurasian rating agency that would provide evaluation tools to serve the growing economic activity in our macro-region.
Further deepening of integrative cooperation will also largely depend on ensuring a level playing field for the Union's enterprises, including through the convergence of tax regulation, introduction of advanced tax administration methods and unification of customs procedures using a risk management system at our external borders.
And, of course, we will have to continue our work on shaping a new transport and logistics infrastructure that would be fully in line with the current economic environment. Today, particular importance rests on developing seamless, secure international transport corridors connecting the EAEU Member States.
One of the key aspects of integrative cooperation is qualified personnel training and job creation. The Eurasian labor market should rise up to the ambitious challenges of developing high-tech industries and introducing digital technologies into production processes. In this regard, it is important to strive for harmonization of national research and technology programs, for producing common educational and professional standards, for launching joint training programs and common textbooks on technical disciplines and humanities. The practice of inter-university internships and academic exchanges should also be encouraged. Humanities in general – the issues of education, culture and sports – should not be peripheral to our integration. Of course, meanwhile we need to be more active in promoting the Eurasian Economic Union, its achievements and opportunities for all citizens of our countries.
I would like to put particular emphasis on the importance of building mutually beneficial and equitable cooperation between the Union, its external partners and international associations. There is an obvious positive effect from implementing the existing free trade agreements with third countries. We intend to make every effort to complete the ongoing work on similar agreements with Egypt, Iran and India and to activate new negotiation tracks, including those with Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. It would be beneficial for boosting exports of the Union's products and building new logistics chains to expand the geography of our international ties and contacts to countries in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Our association might play the role of one of the key centers shaping the Greater Eurasian partnership.
To address all these ambitious objectives, it will be required to improve the existing supranational institutions, primarily the Eurasian Economic Commission. In this regard, we deem it relevant to extend its competences and to consider proposals related to delegating more powers to the EEC. At the same time, all crucial decisions must be consensus-based as before. This principle remains a fundamental value, our common achievement and competitive advantage.
For over a thousand years our nations have lived together and explored their geographic space collectively. A shared understanding of our historical destiny, recognition of centuries-old economic ties, preservation and strengthening of the cultural and social affinity inherent in the peoples of the Union countries are key to success in all our activities.
We hope for close cooperation and support from the EAEU Member States in actual implementation of the priorities of the Russian chairmanship in 2023. We are convinced that together we will achieve new significant results in developing integrative cooperation for the benefit of our nations.