Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the EAEU countries proposed to the EEC to finance only promising industries

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In anticipation of the launch in the EAEU of a mechanism for financing joint projects in the field of industry, the chambers of commerce and industry of the five countries sent their proposals to the Eurasian Economic Commission on the procedure for selecting such initiatives. In particular, business suggests limiting itself to the most promising sectors for cooperation in order to prevent the dilution of program funds. The EEC is ready to take into account some of the proposals, but the indispensable condition for cooperation is the entry into the project of representatives of three or more states of the “five”. Business, on the other hand, is counting on a gradual increase in cooperation – for the time being, it is more accustomed to bilateral partnerships.

Kommersant got acquainted with the letter of the heads of the chambers of commerce and industry of the EAEU countries to the Chairman of the EEC Board Mikhail Myasnikovich with proposals for setting up a mechanism to support joint industrial projects. In May, the heads of state agreed on amendments to the Treaty on the EAEU — on the creation of mechanisms for financing industrial cooperation projects by subsidizing the rate on loans allocated to them. The program budget will be about $20 million a year over five years, which will finance initiatives worth up to $1 billion. According to Sergey Katyrin, president of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, there is an agreement to create a project group that will recommend projects and accompany them.

As follows from the letter, the chambers of commerce and industry are counting on EEC support in four areas. The first is subsidizing under the project of 100% of the key rate of the national bank of the borrowing state; it is possible to reduce the volume of subsidies only if there is a high demand for this mechanism. The second is the limitation of the admissible terms of project implementation to five years (with exceptions by decision of the EEC Council). The third is the competitive selection of projects twice a year for balanced decisions on the distribution of funds between projects in different countries and industries. Fourth, a gradual increase in trilateral cooperation, business asks not to exclude the participation in the program of projects of enterprises from two EAEU countries that have found a partner from a third country shortly before submitting an application.

It should be noted that earlier the RSPP reported about possible difficulties for businesses due to the requirement that companies from at least three countries participate in projects, since bilateral agreements are more common. The CCI proposes to introduce requirements for documents confirming the existence of trilateral cooperation at the time of application and an investment contract with obligations to deepen it during the project implementation period.

The CCI also proposed a list of industries promising for cooperation (there are 18 in total, including microelectronics and machine tool building). The presence of the list will create clear conditions for business participation in the program, eliminate the dilution of its funds and increase its efficiency, the authors of the proposals believe.

The EEC is ready to consider them. EEC Minister for Industry and Agro-Industrial Complex Artak Kamalyan notes that the Regulations on the procedure for selecting cooperation projects and the mechanism of financial assistance in their implementation are being developed. According to him, most countries support compensation in the amount of 100% of the key rate, but the issue requires final agreement. The selection of projects is proposed to be carried out according to the list of initiatives twice a year. The EEC Commission does not plan to limit the timeframe for the implementation of projects, but support from the EAEU budget is generally calculated for five years. The EEC takes a tougher position regarding the expansion of cooperation. “The launch in the EAEU of a new program of financial support for industrial cooperation from the budget of the union will be carried out precisely on the condition that three or more member states participate in projects. These are specific agreements approved at the level of the leadership of the countries of the Union. The issue of gradual involvement of a third party in the process of project implementation is not considered in our mechanism,” states Artak Kamalyan.

Diana Galieva

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