A new agreement signed between Asean and the Eurasian Economic Commission yesterday is expected to contribute to trade, investment and economic expansion between South-east Asian countries and member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
This comes as trade between the two blocs stood at US$35.7 billion (S$48.7 billion) last year, an increase of 40 per cent from 2016.
The signing yesterday was witnessed by leaders after the Asean-Russia Summit.
Russia is among five member states of the EAEU, which also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed reinforces Asean and the EAEU's intent to cooperate in areas such as Customs procedures and trade facilitation; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; technical regulations; e-commerce; trade in services and investment; as well as business development.
At the summit, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong highlighted the widening relationship between Asean and Russia, which was formally elevated to a strategic partnership.
PM Lee noted that Asean and Russia have worked together on a broad range of areas. These include the political-security, economic and socio-cultural fronts.
IMPORTANCE OF DIALOGUE
We believe it is important to foster a regular dialogue between Asean and the Eurasian Economic Union.
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN
Yesterday, leaders also adopted a statement on cooperation in the field of security, and in the use of information and communica-tion technologies.
"These deliverables highlight the breadth and scope of the Asean-Russia relationship," he said.
PM Lee said Singapore supports the upgrading of the Asean-Russia relationship to a strategic partnership, and that this will enhance cooperation in areas which are of interest to both sides.
In his opening remarks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia attaches importance to its ties with Asean, and told leaders he is glad these ties are growing.
In recent years, he added, both sides have managed to accomplish a lot, including boosting political dialogue and coordinating approaches to issues faced in the Asia-Pacific region.
"We believe it is important to foster a regular dialogue between Asean and the Eurasian Economic Union," he added, noting that trade between Russia and Asean has increased in the past year by 35 per cent.
Mr Putin also said Russia is going to join Asean's plans of establishing a network of smart cities, and invited Asean representatives to attend the St Petersburg International Economic Forum and the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia next year.
At the summit, PM Lee suggested that Asean and Russia can strengthen ties by deepening trade and investment links - an endeavour that is helped by the new MOU.
"Singapore will continue working with Russia and Asean to identify new and innovative ways to deepen and broaden our engagement," he said.