Putin calls for accelerated work on common market with Belarus, Kazakhstan

MOSCOW, November 17 (Itar-Tass) --Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for accelerated work to create a common economic space with Belarus and Kazakhstan.

"A number if important international events within the framework of the CIS, EurAsEC and the Customs Union are scheduled for this week. This is why it is necessary to consider a set of proposals that we plan to sign with our partners shortly," Putin said on Wednesday, November 17.

He noted that the documents would not be limited only to improving the work of the Customs Union. "Essentially, we have long been working on the next stage of integration - creation of the Common Economic Space that should become operational not later than January 1, 2012, and the legal framework for this should be prepared in advance," he said.

Putin recalled that under existing agreements, specifically with Belarus, if the whole set of documents is ratified sooner, "we will respond appropriately in our relations with partners, including in the energy sector."

"We should do everything we can to coordinate the whole set of documents and provide for its timely ratification," the prime minister said.

"At any rate, do not delay it and do everything that can be done," he said, addressing members of his government.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko have set the task of ensuring that all the documents on the creation of the Common Economic Space (CES) enter into force by January 1, 2012.

"The presidents have set the task of ensuring that the full set [of basic agreements on the CES] enters into force not later than January 1, 2012," Shuvalov said earlier.

Russian believes that the fact of the formation of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space is a positive development. "For us it means that a large-volume market covering three states has been created, which will bring new opportunities for the three states' businesspeople," he said.

He stressed that the Common Economic Space will become the highest integration degree. "With the Common Economic Space we will unify all the rules of economic life, these are very quick integration tempos," the official said.

He particularly noted that "our fundamental agreements are based on the WTO and EU norms, therefore the WTO accession road is open."

Shuvalov recalled that the application of the rules of the Customs Union in full started in the territory of Russia and Kazakhstan on July 1, and on July 6 the single customs territory of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan will be formed. In his view, "for citizens and organisations this means that the Customs Code that considerably simplifies the customs procedures and introduces an easier-term regime is already being applied."

The first vice prime minister at the same time admitted that "not all procedures have been developed, that difficulties are possible on the border." "We are ready to settle the problems in a short period of time," Shuvalov said.

He also noted that operational headquarters and telephone hotlines have been created in Russia at the Economic Development Ministry and the Customs Service. He recommended to all who may face problems on the border to apply to these bodies.

The first set of documents laying the basis for the Common Economic Space should be ready by the end of this year, Putin said earlier.

Thursday opens a new phase in the history of the Customs Union, he noted. "From now on, the Customs Code will be in effect in Russia and Kazakhstan, and hence all other relevant normative and regulatory documents," Putin said.

"The launch of the Customs Union's second phase is both a landmark event and a starting point. Now, it is vital not just to ensure its stable and smooth work but also to step up preparations for a next integration phase," he stressed.

"Russia is geared towards such full-scale, mutually beneficial cooperation," he added.


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