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  November 11th, 2015 | Written by

Will Russia Participate in TPP Through Back Door?

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  • The Eurasian Economic Union is a trade bloc of five former Soviet states modeled after the EU.
  • TPP members New Zealand and Vietnam have taken steps toward trade deals with Moscow.
  • Russian goods could enter the U.S. by way of TPP countries.

Although Russia did not participate in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, it may enjoy the benefits of TPP because of trade deals various TPP member-states have concluded with the Eurasian Economic Union.

The TPP is a proposed pact negotiated among 12 Pacific Rim nations—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam—representing 40 percent of global GDP.

The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is a regional economic trade bloc of five former Soviet states—Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia—that is modeled after the European Union (EU). Like the EU and its governing EU Commission in Brussels, the EEU’s executive body is the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) based in Moscow.

Various Latin American nations, which are now a part of the TPP, have demonstrated interest in cooperating with the EEU, according published reports citing the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Latin American Department, Alexander Shchetinin.

Shchetinin was quoted as saying, “The Latin American TPP participants show great and persistent interest in establishing constructive cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union. The interest of the Latin American Pacific Rim states in establishing concrete links with the Eurasian structures is obvious and we will certainly actively support it.”

TPP members such as New Zealand and Vietnam have taken steps toward trade and economic deals with Moscow.

New Zealand, Russia, and the precursor to the EEU began free trade agreement negotiations in 2010. Although halted in protest of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and annexation of the Crimea in 2014, some in New Zealand began to move to restart the talks this year.

Chile has a memorandum of understanding with the EEC signed earlier this year. The MOU aims to promote economic cooperation of the EEC states and Chile.

The EEC reported the signing of a similar memorandum the government of Peru las month. The MOU proposes the establishment of a joint working group to develop a dialogue on the practical issues of economic cooperation.

In June 2014 an EEC minister met with the Mexican ambassador to Russia. Following the meeting Mexico was reported to be interested in increasing investment in the EEU and in strategic alliances between Russian and Mexican oil companies.

Vietnam and the EEU signed a free trade agreement on May 29, 2015. Earlier that month, on May 5, Vietnam signed an FTA with South Korea, which in turn, has an FTA with the United States.

Observers say that Russian goods could enter the U.S. by way of TPP countries depending on the agreement’s rules of origin and the degree of enforcement of those regulations.