Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan struggle to agree on Customs Code

The premiers of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan failed on Friday to resolve disputes over the entry into force of their joint customs code on July 1, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

"We agreed to continue the Customs Code ratification process over the next two weeks at the expert level," Putin said after hours of talks in St. Petersburg.

He added that the differences were in areas such as the carmaking and aerospace sectors, which most concerned Russia, customs duties - an issue for Belarus - and the private import of goods by individuals for personal use, of particular sensitivity for Kazakhstan.

Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky clarified that it was the duty on oil and petroleum products that troubled his country. Moscow and Minsk faced off at the start of the year over tariffs on imports of Russian oil, which Belarus said should be completely duty-free in the Customs Union.

Putin said the consultations would continue on the outstanding issues, which were serious and should not be rushed.

Sidorsky and Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov also reaffirmed the need for further coordination.

"We need additional coordination," Sidorsky said. "For now, the positions have not come together."

MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti)


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