Exclusive interview of the managing director Russia's G20 Expert Council dr. Sergey Drobyshevskiy.
How do you today assess the state and prospects of trade-economic relations of the Russian Federation with the European Union?
The current state of the Russia-EU trade and economic relations is determined by the general economic situation in both parties. The European economy is still weak and fragile, so demanding less resources and commodities traditionally imported from Russia. Similar, the domestic demand for imported goods in Russia also shrinks as the economy slows down. That’s why I expect that we see a further stagnation of bilateral trade and cooperation in the nearest future. Of course, in the time of low economic motivation for trade there is much more space for disputes and conflicts , so I expect more ‘trade wars’ between Russia and the EU.
For how long shall Russia remain the only WTO members in the Customs Union and how can this influence further Eurasian integration?
I do not see any serious problems for Kazakhstan to join the WTO expect strong political will from the Kazakhstan’s side to move on. Would Astana see real benefits from this step – it behaves more active and the accession could happened rather soon. In my view, there is almost no relation between the Eurasian integration process and national countries’ policy concerning WTO. On the another side, the probability of Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the Customs Union is very high and then there will be two WTO members with the Custom Union.
Is the extension of the Customs Union possible by associated membership in it of such neighbor-states as China or Turkey?
I do not think it is possible on the current stage. First, as CU is more political than economical union, it is hardly to imagine that such independent countries as China or Turkey could really join. Second, I do not think the CU has showed enough attractiveness internationally. Kyrgyzstan or Armenia have strong historical or other non-economical reasons, but not any country else. Third, simple accession to the CU is also possible for Kyrgyzstan, but assuming China one should understand that it means a new negotiations on the CU policy (level of export duties, regulation a etc.) I do not think any of current 3 members is ready for that.
What may happen within interrelations of Russia and Ukraine after the signing of the last EU Association agreement?
If we talks about real economic relations – nothing. Our economies have some degree of bilateral cooperation, but it is rather limited. Any further reduction in trade or new negotiations on the price of gas are not related the Ukraine’s association agreement – they are permanent and any could predict them even in the case of rejection the agreement with EU. Ukraine, unlike Belarus, is too big and for Russia it is economically costly to grant it with broad preferences. So I think even in case of Russian, not European choice the problems are the same.
What kind of changes can be expected in 2014 in the energy policy of Russia?
It depends on the climate issue – how cold will be winter in Europe. If cold – Russia’s energy will be demanded and it creates an illusion of lasting power. If not – the problems in energy sector will be more evident and it could move Russia to a more realistic energy policy both domestically and abroad.
Head of Macroeconomics and Finance Division of the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Moscow, Russia) and Senior Research Fellow at the Russian Academy for National Economy and Public Service under the President of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Economics.
Graduated from the Higher School of Economics (Moscow) and Erasmus University (Rotterdam). In 1996 Sergey Drobyshevsky joined the Institute for Economy in Transition (since June 2010 – Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy) and worked in the Department of Monetary Policy. In 2000-2002 – expert at the Russian-European Centre for Economic Policy.
The main sphere of professional interests: macroeconomics, monetary policy, financial institutions and financial markets, economic forecasting.
Author of 20 monographs and books published in Russia and abroad, more than 100 research papers and articles.
Member of the Expert Council under Government Commission on Economic Development and Integration, Member of the Public Council under the Ministry of Finance, Member of the Monetary Policy Council under the Association of Russian Regional Banks.
Since November 2012 he is managing director of the Russia's G20 Expert Council.