The Eurasian Economic Union has a new instrument to develop interstate cooperation - Eurasian technology platforms.
Eurasian Economic Union has a new instrument to develop interstate cooperation
- Eurasian technology platforms.
The Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission has
already confirm 11 priority technology platforms in 8 directions: space,
medicine, information and communications technologies, photonics, natural
resources, ecology, agriculture and industrial technology. The creator behind
the idea emphasises that these platforms are intended to ensure systematic work
on the accumulation of advanced national and international achievements in
terms of scientific and technological progress and to mobilise the scientific
potential of the Member States of the Union.
They will be used to solve applied tasks in the
development of innovative products and technologies and their introduction into
industrial production. Correspondent of BELTA asked Adviser to Member of the
Board - Minister in charge of Industry and the Agroindustrial Complex of the
EEC, Vladimir Maltsev, about how this idea will be implemented in practice.
- Mr. Maltsev, why
was this particular format, i.e. technology platforms, chosen?
- If you look at the history of the creation of
integration chains in the post-Soviet space, the most well-known are projects
within the framework of the Union State. But they're all initiated from the
top, not at the initiative of business. In reality, these projects were all
developed in the offices of officials. And it turned out that the economic
component had not been fully thought through, therefore all these projects
stall somewhat. We, in the EAEU, have chosen another way. Technology platforms
as a mechanism are not new. We haven’t invented anything. This mechanism was
first applied in Russia in 2008. The idea was copied from the European Union:
it originated when the EU had borders, the Union was not as it is now, but it
had already developed cooperation chains. The most well-known of them is the
aircraft concern Airbus whose parts are made in different countries, where
differing measures of support were set out in the legislation. Therefore the
question arose: a common product is being constructed, whose partners, even
though they are in different states, should be eligible for state support
measures. In fact, this is what a technology platform is.
-So, to briefly
sum up, a technology platform is a conventional cooperation chain with equal
measures of state support?
- With support measures, but not equal ones.
Integration in the EAEU has not reached the extent where the level of State
support can be unified. However, the advantages of our technology platforms are
still substantial: if you enter into this cooperation chain, then, in your
State, you should be given some form of preferences as a matter of priority.
Moreover, the technology platform can cover the process from the production of
raw materials to the final product. For example, take the Belarusian company, Kamvol.
It operates under conditions of very high competition. There is a light
industry technology platform it can use to see the chain, from the creation of
wool production to sewing the finished product, and then join this chain. Why
are so many projects at a standstill in the post-Soviet space? Because we are
trying to establish joint ventures among ourselves, where competition is very
strongly developed. What’s more, we are using state budget to do so. But each
State has protectionist measures to support, for example, MAZ and KAMAZ; they
compete in the internal market. That is to say that they can cooperate but only
- As far as I
understand, business itself must decide whether to join the Eurasian platform
-Yes. We now have nine platforms specifically in
industry. We formed them and then immediately added the proviso: this is
cooperation aimed at innovation. It should be more than a cooperation chain;
ultimately an innovative competitive product should be created.
- What specific
preferences can business gain when joining a technology platform?
- I have already said that each State will introduce
its own measures of support for the participants of technology platforms. In
addition, the EEC has supranational functions, which mean both tariff and
non-tariff regulation measures can be taken. For example, a company produces
parts for the final product within a technology platform, but some parts or raw
materials are imports from outside the EAEU. The manufacturing country proposes
to the EEC: let's reduce import duties on these components or raw materials to
zero. We immediately take a look: is this product included in the technology
platform? If yes, the Commission confirms that this product is needed, that it
is innovative and cooperative. And we give preferential duties. There may be
other measures, for example, technical regulation. In addition, the EEC wills
soon have the authority to enter voluntarily agree on EAEU subsidies with
participating countries. This means, another subsidiary mechanism will be
added. Let’s not forget about the financing mechanism via the Eurasian
Development Bank. We agreed that it would finance projects with cooperative
participation, and this position has been confirmed in the Eurasian
Intergovernmental Council at the level of Prime Ministers. The EEC will now set
up a special working group headed by Member of the Board - Minister in charge
of industry and the Agroindustrial Complex of the EEC Sergey Sidorskiy, which
will select such projects. In the future we plan to look at establishing a
joint fund to finance cooperation projects. Maybe we will come to an agreement
on subsidising credit rates so that it is not under commercial conditions. We
are also considering this type of mechanism.
technology platforms focus primarily on issuing export-oriented products?
The whole experience of establishing customs unions
concerns the fact that, above all, we must increase the supply of products to
the internal market. To do so, we must eliminate barriers to mutual trade. Only
then will competitive products begin to appear there. By developing
competition, we will be able to create products that can be exported. If we are
going to declare that we’ll create products aimed for export, we will not be
able to release to the external market without competition; no one will need
them there. Although, of course, our companies independently produce
competitive products. For example, MAZ, KAMAZ, Gomselmash, other enterprises.
We produce a lot of competitive products, but each country does so
independently. And we're talking about creating cooperation chains. I want to
say a little more about it now. We are in economically difficult conditions
where sanctions are imposed on Russia that indirectly affect all the EAEU members.
This is because we have the Common Economic Space. Therefore, first and
foremost Russia, it seems to me, should offer some form of integration steps to
smooth out the effect of the sanctions that affect other countries. Because
there can be no integration without any concessions to each other. The
President of the Russian Federation proposed such a mechanism, inviting all
EAEU States to participate in the import substitution program in Russia. The
Commission is now actively working on this issue with the relevant ministries
of the parties.
-When can we
expect these technology platforms to give their first results?
-Technology platforms are not just a mechanism. They
encompass specific enterprises and specific projects. The technology platforms
that we announced the establishment of - they all have specific participants,
the enterprises themselves sign agreement with each other. I.e. the specific
participants said: we are joining this technology platform and are willing to
create such a product. We hope that by mid-2017, some projects will have been
established that can be financed by the Eurasian Development Bank and supported
at the national level.