ASEAN’s trade space with Russia suffered in 2022 due to sanctions as Russia halted growth. The suspension of direct flights to any ASEAN cities, the termination of Russian investments by Singapore, problems with logistics and payment – all this had an impact.
At the same time, trade between ASEAN and Russia will grow by 34 percent to reach US$20 billion in 2021, although it will be difficult to achieve this this year. However, the trade that does exist, covering a wide range of products, is a promising platform on which both sides are looking to build – subject to new hurdles being overcome.
Some of the ASEAN countries have a very positive attitude towards Russian imports and exports. After attending the ASEAN-Russia meeting at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok yesterday (Tuesday, 6 September 2022), I can outline some of these developments both in terms of institutional progress in the development process and with some of the ASEAN countries themselves.
Both Russia and several ASEAN countries are discussing the transition of payment processes to national currencies, primarily between the Russian ruble and the Vietnamese dong, as well as the Indonesian rupiah. Harmonization of these mechanisms will only be a matter of time – Russia and India have already started it.
The possibility for ASEAN countries to have access to the Russian MIR payment card system in partnership with various national ASEAN payment card systems is also being discussed – Vietnam already has this possibility. In 2023, other ASEAN countries may reach agreements on this.
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