Launch of three-nation customs union may be delayed: Putin

May 22, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Launch of three-nation customs union may be delayed: Putin

MOSCOW, May 22 (Xinhua)? A customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan would not be launched on July 1 as scheduled, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Saturday.

"Right. It won't be able (to work) at full stretch," Putin told the Mir TV station of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

On Friday night, Putin said leaders of the three former Soviet republics failed to resolve disputes at a meeting aimed to reach consensus on some sensitive issues in building the union.

According to Putin, Kazakhstan was concerned about the volume of goods brought into the country. Russia's concern was related to automobile and aviation industries, while Belarus was concerned with issues related with customs duties, petroleum and oil.

Moscow and Minsk faced off over tariffs on imports of Russian oil, which Belarus saw as duty-free in the union.

So far, ministers of the three nations have reaffirmed the need for further coordination and experts said the process of talks might last for two more weeks.

The three countries had planned to introduce the common customs code by July 1 based on 18 separate agreements. Eight of them have reportedly been signed.


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