Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has voiced confidence that preferential bilateral agreements must not replace the global trade system.

“Russia has consistently advocated the deepening regional integration. All preferential trade agreements reached within its framework are important, of course, but, nevertheless, they should not replace the multilateral trade system. Moreover, they should not destroy the existing economic ties, they should only enrich them,” Medvedev said speaking at the APEC CEO summit.

He recalled, in particular, that the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) had existed for almost a year now, adding that it comprised five full-fledged members. “We are committed to establishing mutually advantageous cooperation with all partners across the globe. This is our contribution to such integration,” Medvedev said. “There are agreements with our Chinese partners on harmonizing the integration processes within the framework of the Eurasian Union with the Silk Road economic belt.”

According to the Russian prime minister, a preferential agreement was signed in May between the EAEU and Vietnam. Work on similar agreements with other countries is in progress. The Eurasian commission has received about 40 applications from various countries on setting up free trade areas with the EAEU.