First round of talks on India-EAEU free trade zone to take place in near future

The first round of talks on the free trade zone between India and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will take place in the near future, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference following talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I am convinced that additional opportunities for the diversification of commodity flows will open up with the creation of a free trade zone between India and the Eurasian Economic Union. This is our common goal and the first round of negotiations on drafting an agreement will be held in the near future,” he said.

According to Putin, at the talks, priority attention was paid to trade and investment cooperation.

“Last year, bilateral trade added almost 17% and amounted to $11 bln. We believe that there are all conditions for its further growth,” the Russian leader said.

He also drew attention to the strategy of interaction between Russian and Indian special department that was signed on September 4 in Vladivostok. This document is aimed at enhancing economic cooperation and involves the removal of barriers in the investment sector, the promotion of large mutually beneficial joint projects in priority areas, and building up scientific, technological and innovative cooperation.

Putin stressed importance of using national currencies in mutual settlements.

“India’s joining the Bank of Russia’s financial messaging system will contribute to ensuring smooth interbank transactions,” Putin said.

During the talks Putin and Modi paid special attention to energy cooperation.

According to Putin, at the end of 2018, Russia shipped India 2.3 mln tonnes of oil, nearly 550,000 tonnes of oil products, 4.5 mln tonnes of coal. At the same time, the head of state noted that a significant part of hydrocarbon exports to India comes from the Far East. He recalled that partners from India own 20% in the Sakhalin-1 project, and Indian energy companies were invited to participate in other promising projects, such as Far Eastern LNG, Arctic LNG-2.