Israeli Charge d’Affaires in Russia Alex Goldman-Shayman said that Israel and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) may reach an agreement on the creation of a free trade zone in the next few months.
The Eurasian Economic Union is a bloc created to streamline the flow of goods, capital and labor between its member nations, namely Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
The union came into being on January 1, 2015. According to official EEU figures, the organization includes over 179 million people, covers more than 15% of the world’s surface (20 million km2) and generates a combined GDP of US$2411,2 billion –an estimate on 2013 prices.
To give an indication of its relative size, and following IMF data (GDP/PPP), the EEU’s economy was, roughly, seven times smaller than that of the US and the EU, six times smaller than China’s and about half the size of India’s, slightly surpassing Brazil’s.
Further, the EEU turned over US$932.9 million in foreign trade and was capable of industrial output worth US$1.5 trillion. Unsurprisingly, the Russian Federation accounts for over four fifths of its entire GDP, population size and geographical surface. Russia is overwhelmingly the organization’s centre of economic and demographic gravity. Many countries have expressed interest in setting up a free trade zone with the EEU. Vietnam has already signed the agreement, while India is on the way. Thailand is expected to launch a free trade zone with the EEU in 2016.