Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (Source: AFP/VNA)
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an important partner of Moscow in the Asia-Pacific region and as such, Russia has actively strengthened economic and political activities with ASEAN member nations.

The statement was made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when he was attending ASEAN meetings in Malaysia early this month.

According to the minister, Russia is ASEAN’s eighth biggest economic partner with bilateral trade doubling in the last seven years to reach over 20 billion USD a year.

He noted Moscow has not only bolstered trade cooperation with ASEAN, but also developed joint projects in hi-technology, nuclear energy and aerospace research.

Lavrov and his ASEAN counterparts have agreed to convene the 20th Russia-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in Russia in 2016 to designate new overall cooperation plans from 2016-2020.

Russia and ASEAN are also considering the possibility of opening a business summit in Malaysia in October this year with the participation of Russian and ASEAN enterprises, he stressed.

Russia invited ASEAN partners to take part in the first East Economic Forum which is expected to run in Vladivostok from September 3-5.

The diplomat highlighted that the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam in May this year as a pilot project to pave the way for other FTAs with other ASEAN member states and with the bloc in general.-VNA