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Putin calls for common dollar-less payment system as key for economic sovereignty

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the meeting of the Eurasian Economic Council Thursday by calling on the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to consider the idea of creating a common payment infrastructure.

“We suggest that the issue of creating common payment infrastructure using up-to-date financial technologies in EEU should be developed,” he said.

“That would enhance sustainability of national payment systems of the EEU countries by making them less dependent on the dollar and other foreign currencies,” the Russian president explained.

This means “boosting economic sovereignty,”  Putin added.

He also suggested creating common energy markets within the EEU which would increase the union’s GDP to $9 billion, noting that trade turnover within the bloc rose by 12 percent in the first half of 2018.

On Tuesday, the President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov also said that the members of the EEU could abandon border procedures and adopt a common currency in the future similar to the European Union.

The EEU, which is based on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, was established in 2015. It was later joined by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. In 2016, Vietnam officially became the first non-regional country to join the bloc. The union is designed to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital and workers between member countries.

More than 40 countries and international organizations, including China, Indonesia, and Israel, as well as some South American countries, have expressed interest in a free-trade deal with the EEU. The trade bloc is also holding negotiations with South Korea, Egypt, and India.