The document, signed by the heads of UNCTAD and the EEC, is aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two organizations to support sustained economic growth and development.
The Secretary-General spoke of the symbolic character of the signing ceremony kindly hosted by Kazakhstan - which is an EEC member country, currently holds the presidency of UNCTAD's Trade and Development Board, and was the organizer of the Astana Economic Forum. He expressed his hope for a prompt practical implementation of the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding.
The Secretary-General also outlined some of the prospective areas for cooperation. These included WTO accession and post-accession, trade policy in the context of regional integration processes, attracting foreign direct investment, improvement of the investment climate in Eurasian Economic Commission Member States, competition policy, development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and cooperation in the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to facilitate trade and customs procedures.
Mr. Supachai Panitchpakdi shakes hands with Mr. Viktor Khristenko, President of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC)
"The memorandum is an important and timely step," said Mr. Khristenko at the signing ceremony. "By signing the memorandum, the Eurasian Economic Commission launches a systematic dialogue with UNCTAD," he added. He also noted the important role of UNCTAD as a global forum, which develops recommendations in the areas of trade, finance, investment and technology.
After the signing, the EEC Minister for Competition Policy, Mr. Nurlan Aldabergenov, spoke with the Secretary-General of UNCTAD about its ongoing collaboration with UNCTAD on drafting competition legislation applicable at the regional level.
The Eurasian Economic Commission was established on the basis of a treaty signed by the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Belarus. The total population of the three member countries is approximately 170 million. The economies of the regional union account for around 4 per cent of world GDP.
The Memorandum was prepared and initialled by the Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Mr. Petko Draganov, and the EEC Minister for Trade, Mr. Andrey Slepnev, in March 2013.
The Trade and Development Board will decide on the EEC's application for observer status with UNCTAD in June of this year. This status will allow the Commission to take a more active part in UNCTAD's activities and events. In addition, an EEC delegation is planning to visit Geneva in the near future to discuss an action plan on implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant divisions of UNCTAD.