Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): everyday life and future directions

The Asia-Pacific Region (APR) continues to be in the highlight of politicians and economists of the largest countries across the world, including Russia. The continuous series of events is a proof of this:

  • in the beginning of October 2015 12 countries of APR reached an agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP);
  • the summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was held in November 2015; APEC has 21 member economies; 
  • in the end of November 2015 the agreement on ASEAN Community was signed. 

Among reasons of keen interest to APR are: the growth of mutual goods turnover, negotiations on free trade zones and, in general, the intensification of the struggle for influence in this region. As the experts of Information Agency Credinform have already presented first two topics, the current article will be devoted to the results of ASEAN summit.

The organization was formed in 1967. It consists of 10 countries: Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines. It should be noted, that such countries as Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore are also members of TPP and APEC; this will allow other participants of ASEAN not to stay away from the development of economic cooperation, which is implemented in the framework of TPP, APEC etc.

The regular summit in the capital of Malaysia Kuala Lumpur was devoted to such questions as security enforcement, sustainable economic development of APR, and cooperation in the following sectors: energy, finance, health, emergency response, interconnectedness etc. In the framework of the summit bilateral meetings in the form of «ASEAN+1» (USA) or «ASEAN+2» (India, PRC) or «ASEAN+3» (Japan, China, South Korea) were held.

In general, ASEAN is a political, economic and cultural regional intergovernmental organization of countries, located in Southeast Asia. Its development level allowed conducting the negotiations with the USA, India, China, Australia and other countries on the rights of a single player. During the direct negotiations the President of the United States of America proposed to concentrate the forces of ASEAN on the development of economic relations with TPP countries. The Prime Minister of India called for a special collaboration with its State.

The Prime Minister of Russia participated in one of the extended formats of ASEAN – East Asia Forum, which was principally devoted to security issues. In the framework of the forum 18 countries adopted a joint declaration on maritime cooperation in the region; the members agreed to resolve conflicts and create general rules on the base of the United Nations Maritime Declaration. The document was also signed by the political leadership of the USA, China, Japan and Russia.

The negotiations of ASEAN and PRC were complicated by territorial claims of PRC to some sections of the South China Sea, therefore the negotiations were held behind closed doors. Nevertheless, China considers ASEAN as a priority region, encouraging trade and infrastructure construction in Southeast Asia. The initiative «Silk Road», promoted by China, promises new prospects of cooperation between China and ASEAN countries. 

The key event of the summit is the official signing of the agreement on the establishment of ASEAN Community - the agreement on regional integration of 10 Southeast Asia countries in economic, political and administrative areas. In accordance with the agreement, the following will occur: legislation would be brought to the uniform standards, the rapprochement of working techniques of legal systems, solving methods in the social, security fields and the field of business government control. As the ASEAN Community works in custom union mode within several years, the Community is compared with the Eurasian Economic Union, EAEU and similar formats of Europe. In the framework of agreement, the economic, political and administrative integration is expected to be completed by 2025.

Besides, Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates is recognized as important document, which was signed by the ASEAN leaders and the leadership of Russia, USA, PRC, Australia, Japan and India. Its implementation basis includes the principle of "reasonable steps" in foreign policy. "Reasonable steps" are considered by participants as «universal value, contributing peace, security, development of social justice».

Russia considers its collaboration with ASEAN as a key direction of foreign policy. Therefore, special attention is paid to the necessity of interaction development with ASEAN countries in the following fields: security and peaceful settlement of conflicts. It is planned to hold a Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi in May 2016. The summit will be devoted to the 20th anniversary since the launch of the official dialogue between the Russian Federation and the Association.

Insurance tariffs won’t change in 2016

Starting January 1st, 2016 the Federal Law of the Russian Federation as of December 14th, 2015 “Concerning insurance tariffs on compulsory social insurance against industrial accidents and occupational illnesses for 2016” will come into force.

Short text of the law consisting of 3 articles entrenches the established rules of payment and application of current tariffs of insurance contributions on compulsory social insurance against industrial accidents and occupational illnesses. It will correspond to the Federal law as of December 22nd, 2005 №179-FZ “On insurance tariffs on compulsory social insurance against industrial accidents and occupational illnesses for 2006” as it is stated in the law. Thus 32 insurance tariffs from 0,2% to 8,5% will remain in accordance with the types of economic activity and class of occupational risk.

Sole entrepreneurs will be given the existing discounts on payments to employed disabled persons of I, II and III groups in an amount of 60% of the fixed measure of insurance tariffs.

According to experts, when the draft law was introduced to the State Duma, its name was a little bit different: “On insurance tariffs on compulsory social insurance against industrial accidents and occupational illnesses for 2016 and planning period of 2017 and 2018”. The bill has already met the government’s approval on October 1st, 2015. However the negative changes in the Russian economy became more dynamic by the end of the year and the state budget was passed only for 2016. Apparently due to this, the maintenance period of insurance tariffs was decreased to 1 year at reasonable rate of insurance burden.