Belarus membership in Customs Union to be settled at Astana summit

The issue of whether Belarus will join the Customs Union will be settled at the summit of the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec) in July, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said on Thursday.

The presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana on July 5.

"We have held the necessary agreement procedures and tomorrow [Friday] will hold talks in the format of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia, during which all the necessary issues related to the launch of the Customs Union will be dealt with," Shuvalov said.

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on the creation of the Customs Code in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on November 27, 2009.

The Customs Union formally came into existence on January 1, but is unable to start working fully until disputes are resolved and the customs code comes into effect.

The Code was due to start operating on July 1, but at the end of May the three former Soviet republics failed to resolve disputes at a meeting in St. Petersburg.

Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky then said the disputed issues between the countries included the import of foreign cars and aircraft into the Union's customs territory and export duties on Russian oil and petroleum products to Belarus.

In early July, Russian President Medvedev signed a federal law ratifying the Customs Code and Kazakhstan's lower house of parliament ratified it on the same day.

ST. PETERSBURG, June 17 (RIA Novosti)


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