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The Valdai International Discussion Club prepared the analytical Report titled “Toward the Great Ocean – 3”. This document evaluates the prospects of Eurasian economic integration in the course of implementation of the “Silk Road Economic Belt” project. A group of experts from the Valdai Club including the representatives of the Higher School of Economics, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, as well as the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – the Leader of the Nation took part in this work. The Report was presented on April 17 in Astana, at the “Creating Eurasia: “Silk Road Economic Belt” international conference. Over 40 experts from Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran and Turkey took part in the discussion.

The Valdai International Discussion Club prepared the analytical Report titled “Toward the Great Ocean – 3”. This document evaluates the prospects of Eurasian economic integration in the course of implementation of the “Silk Road Economic Belt” project. A group of experts from the Valdai Club including the representatives of the Higher School of Economics, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, as well as the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – the Leader of the Nation took part in this work. The Report was presented on April 17 in Astana, at the “Creating Eurasia: “Silk Road Economic Belt” international conference. Over 40 experts from Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran and Turkey took part in the discussion.

The Report analyzes the prospects for Russia’s participation in the PRC initiative that aims to establish the “Silk Road Economic Belt” – the network of land and sea routes that will link the western regions of China with the main markets of Central Asia and Europe. China plans to invest 40 billion US dollars in this project. The main cargo flow routes that would be generated in the rapidly developing Western China, are expected to pass through the territories of Kazakhstan and Russia.

The Report dwells on the opportunities for the countries involved in the project, either directly or indirectly. The authors arrived at the conclusion that the “Silk Road Economic Belt” is not only a transit-transport project, but also a comprehensive plan for the economic development of a number of states; it includes the development of infrastructure, industry, trade and services. The project will allow for the establishment of stable environment in the entire center of Eurasia, as well as for bringing out the region’s full potential.

According to the authors, the “Silk Road” project may start the process of generating a Central Eurasian joint development zone – with the level of integration close to that of the European Union.

Andrei Bystritsky, the Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, underlined that the economic integration in Central Eurasia would solve the security problems associated with the possible destabilization of the region under the pressure of internal and external forces. “This is especially relevant for such countries as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, but, under certain circumstances, Kazakhstan with Kyrgyzstan might also face instability. The interests of Russia and China coincide in this respect. And, in this case, the economic cooperation between the parties can meet important geostrategic challenges”, - said Andrei Bystritsky.

Sultan Akimbekov, the Director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, noted that the “Silk Road Economic Belt” project is able to give new momentum to the development of integration processes that takes place between Russia and Kazakhstan within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. “It is important that today the “Silk Road Economic Belt” project undergoes discussion at such a serious expert level. And we are glad this dialogue was started here, in Kazakhstan, for our border will become the “entry point” for the new cargo from the PRC on the way to the Eurasian Economic Union.”

Ziyavudin Magomedov, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Summa Group, added that the project would open up new opportunities for the implementation of major infrastructure projects along the routes of the “Silk Road Economic Belt”, as well as provide the Trans-Siberian Railway with the additional cargo flow. He believes Russia and Kazakhstan should jointly strive to attract additional cargo flows from Western China, thus competing with the alternative routes that lie more to the south. Mr. Magomedov concluded: “From this point of view, the common customs area within the Eurasian Economic Union framework is our joint and undeniable competitive advantage”.

International conference “Creating Eurasia: “Silk Road Economic Belt”

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