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The project of connecting the EAEU and the Silk Road Economic Belt provides opportunities for “soft integration”

25.06.16

Let me first express my great gratitude to the government of the People’s Republic of China, President Jin personally and all his team for warm hospitality and excellent arrangement of this First Annual Meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

During the last year AIIB founding members worked hard to transform this very ambitious idea into one of the largest multilateral development banks in the world.

To live up to the high expectations it has inspired, the AIIB must prove its worth as a truly international, multilateral institution fully dedicated to the region's development needs.

As we all know, there is vast unmet demand for productive economic infrastructure, especially in the emerging economies of Asia. By estimation the global infrastructure requirements over the next two decades would cost around US$50 trillion. Only developing Asian economies need to invest around US$8 trillion to next 10 years, just to keep pace with expected infrastructure needs. This financing gap is beyond the capacity of the World Bank, ADB, and International Monetary Fund combined.

Moreover, poor logistics and insufficient and unreliable power grids create additional unnecessary costs for the local business and citizens.

We all hope that the AIIB will increase the pool of multilateral resources available to meet these needs. That is why this initiative has attracted substantial amount of participants from different part of the globe.

Therefore, we all should do our best to make the AIIB more responsive, more efficient, and thus more effective. The Bank must be transparent, must follow the highest international standards, and cooperate well with the other development financial institutions including new ones such as New Development Bank of BRICS countries, Eurasian Development Bank and others.

The role and importance of Asia in the international arena has increased, yet the region faces severe infrastructure gaps. In this case, we welcome all regional initiatives, which can help to overcome such obstacles and improve productivity and quality of peoples' lives.

We believe that regional integration initiatives should aim at openness and equal participation. We are also advancing this agenda in our work. Last year President Putin and President Xi Jinping signed the joint declaration on linking the Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt. Instead of being competitors in Eurasian region, EAEU countries and China declared the goal to build a common economic space. We place long-term prosperity and cooperation as our main interest.

The project of connecting the EAEU and the Silk Road Economic Belt provides opportunities for “soft integration”. The initiative includes building transport corridors from East Asian countries to Europe via countries of Eurasian Economic Union, developing projects in the fields of energy, manufacturing and hi-tech sectors such as IT, education and medicine.

Moreover, recently at the St. Petersburg World Economic Forum President Putin stated that we, along with our Chinese colleagues, are planning to start official talks on the formation of comprehensive trade and economic partnership in Eurasia with the participation of the European Union states and China. We expect that this will become one of the first steps toward the formation of a major Eurasian partnership.

Today the world faces many economic challenges including lower growth rate and lower economic trade. The economic turbulence makes us correct our goals and priorities. Nevertheless, it also brings additional opportunities.

AIIB can play a vital role, for future economic growth of all our countries. I believe that the Bank will make a valuable contribution to sustainable growth and economic cooperation.

We all hope that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will become a financial institution with international standard, transparent decision making polices and equal conditions for all.

With all this said I believe that the AIIB will achieve success, and will take its rightful place within the structure of existing international financial institutions.

Let me assure you that the Government of the Russian Federation will be very much focused on cooperation with the AIIB.
 

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