Belarus, Kazakh RF delegations to discuss Customs Union

MINSK, March 14 (Itar-Tass) - Belarus deems it necessary to finally and in the short run to transfer all kinds of control from the internal borders between the member states of the Customs Union to the external boundaries. This position of the Belarusian side will be put forward for discussion at the 25th meeting of the Customs Union Commission, which will be held in Minsk on Monday. The meeting participants will be delegations from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.

According to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, the Commission plans to preliminarily consider issues put on the agenda of an extraordinary meeting of the EurAsEC Interstate Council - the supreme authority of the Customs Union - at the level of Heads of Government, scheduled for March 15. In particular, it will discuss the transfer of control, including transport, from the Belarusian-Russian and Russian-Kazakh borders to the external boundaries.

Belarusian Deputy Economy Minister Anton Kudasov said, “We have recently observed the signs that the transport authorities in the absence of customs authorities on the Belarusian-Russian border apply a number of measures that should not be applied on the internal borders, but should be taken on the outside boundaries of the Customs Union.” He explained to Itar-Tass that the referred to actions of posts of the Russian transport inspection, which demand from the Belarusian haulers permits for the transportation of goods from third countries within the customs territory of the Customs Union.

At the meeting, the Commission will also discuss approaches to the codification of laws of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space (CES), including proposals for the implementation of the Declaration on the CES formation of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia of December 9, 2010. It is also planned to hear information about the formation of the CES.

In addition, the meeting will address issues related the establishment and operation of the EurAsEC Court and other problems.

After discussion about the creation of a common economic space between the CIS countries of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, agreement in principle about the creation of this space was announced after a meeting in the Moscow suburb of Novo-Ogarevo on 23 February 2003. The Common Economic Space would involve a supranational commission on trade and tariffs that would be based in Kiev, would initially be headed by a representative of Kazakhstan, and would not be subordinate to the governments of the four nations. The ultimate goal would be a regional organisation that would be open for other countries to join as well, and could eventually lead even to a single currency. On 22 May 2003 The Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian Parliament) voted 266 votes in favour and 51 against the joint economic space. However, Viktor Yushchenko’s victory in the Ukrainian presidential election of 2004 was a significant blow against the project: Yushchenko had shown renewed interest in Ukrainian membership in the European Union, and such membership would have been incompatible with the envisioned common economic space. On March 1, 2010 the first deputy head of the presidential administration of newly elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, Irina Akimova stated that Ukraine does not intend to join the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus in the near future “Since the CU contradicts and will greatly complicate Ukraine's membership in the WTO.” A single market for the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia is envisioned for 2012.

The EurAsEC was founded according to the Treaty on the Establishment of the Eurasian Economic Community, signed by the presidents of the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan in Astana on October 10, 2000, according to the organisation’s website.

In January 2006, Uzbekistan joined the Community, but suspended its participation in the work of the EurAsEC's governing bodies since 2008.

In May 2002 the Republics of Moldova and Ukraine were granted observer status at the EurAsEC, and in April 2003 the same status was granted to the Republic of Armenia.

Incorporated as an international legal body, in 2003 EurAsEC was granted observer status in the United Nations General Assembly. During its 62nd session in December 2007 the UN GA adopted the resolution “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC).” EurAsEC member states occupy a total area of 20.3 million square km. Their population exceeds 181 million. The trade turnover of the member states has increased three times since 2002, and in 2007 exceeded 90 billion US dollars.

During the Interstate Council meeting in Sochi on August 16, 2006 heads of state Alexander Lukashenko, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Vladimir Putin, Emomali Rakhmon and Islam Karimov made a decision to establish a customs union within the EurAsEC framework, with Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia as initial members. Other EurAsEC member states will join the customs union when their economies are ready to take this step. During the IC meeting on October 6, 2007 in Dushanbe they considered the issue of forming the legal basis of the customs union and signed some agreements on the subject.


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