Conference on Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan Customs Union

Mar 30 2010 - 11:48

On January 25, 2010, at the World Customs Organization in Brussels, the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) held a conference on the ongoing project to establish a Customs Union among Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The objective of the Union is to create a single economic market by 2012 and allow its members to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a single customs territory. The Belarus Ambassador to Belgium Vladimir Senko stated at the conference that his country hopes to attract foreign investment by developing into a transit country and a distribution center for EU products coming into this market.

However, European businesses have argued that the Union’s common external tariffs, due to come into effect on July 1, 2010, are too high and will thus restrict foreign investment in member countries.

As we reported earlier, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed the Customs Union agreement on November 27, 2009, which came into effect on January 1, 2010. The state customs control at the border between Belarus and Russia is expected to be lifted on July 1, 2010, while the customs control at the border between Russia and Kazakhstan is expected to be lifted on July 1, 2011.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has recently stated that it would be logical for the three member countries to have a single currency as well.

For more information, please contact Jelena Jankovic in our Balkan Regional Office.

Source: New Europe

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