APD | With the advent of APEC Summit, Russia can make more friends



Author: Yaroslav Lisovolik, Program Director of the Valdai Discussion Club, Russa

The 29th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from November 17 to 19.

The APEC meeting in 2022 will be used by Russia to reinforce economic ties with some of the key partners in the region. It will also be an opportunity for Russia to explore the possibility of building greater ties between the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan) and other regional integration groupings in the Pacific region, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and ASEAN. There may also be scope to discuss some of the key issues on the global and regional agenda with APEC partners, including energy and food security, environment and climate change.

Some of the key themes for Russia will include the need to deal with extremely high levels of protectionism and restrictions in the world economy. Against the backdrop of megaregional alliances formed in the region, there may be a renewed need to advance the principles of “open regionalism” in line with the “APEC spirit” of the preceding decades. The key bilateral discussions for Russia are likely to include China and ASEAN economies such as Indonesia. The main themes in such bilateral discussions are likely to feature boosting trade and investment cooperation as well as advancing common regional integration projects (including FTAs with some of the ASEAN economies). With Indonesia Russia together with its partners from the Eurasian Economic Union is discussing the creation of a Free Trade Area (FTA). There may be also scope for other such agreements with other ASEAN economies that have raised the possibility of creating trade alliances earlier.

Russia is very much open to using the APEC platform as a means of developing ties with the Pacific region, which has been over the past several decades one of the most dynamic regions of the world economy. For Russia the development of such ties in the Pacific is a way to continue the process of the re-orientation of its trade and investment flows towards Asia after decades of high concentration of its trade and investment flows in Europe. In this respect the APEC platform can be used as a means of building closer ties with ASEAN as well as with other key regional integration blocks such as RCEP.

At the same time, while APEC is seen as a useful platform for forging and advancing alliances in the region, there may be a need to add more vigor and vitality to economic openness in the APEC region. Throughout the past decade this process of economic liberalization has lost its momentum – without a renewed momentum in economic openness among APEC members other competing regional liberalization projects and for a may become more prominent.

(APD News)