BERLIN, February 9 (Itar-Tass) —— The Customs Union created by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus is an example of normal economic integration in the post-Soviet space, Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
“The Customs Union is purely economic cooperation between our countries,” Nazarbayev said at a press conference after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, February 8.
“We have removed customs barriers for the passage of goods and move of capital and services in a transparent manner,” he added.
If a German company builds a plant in Kazakhstan, it will get a market of 165 million people, the president said.
“In the first year of the Customs Union our trade turnover with Russia and Belarus increased by 40 percent,” he recalled and stressed that this is an indication that the Customs Union is an example of “normal economic integration”.
“When we engage in integration for the benefit of our economies, some view this as a risk of reestablishing the Soviet Union. There can be no question of political associations, let alone restoration of the Soviet Union,” Nazarbayev said.
He expressed hope that the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space would become a place for cooperation with the European Union in the future.
“I am a person who is committed to integration in the post-Soviet space and I have always used the European Union as an example,” he said.
The Common Economic Space became operational from January 1, 2012.
On July 1, 2011, control over the movement of goods between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan ceased to exist and the three countries formed a common customs system.
Combined trade turnover of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which form the Customs Union, will exceed 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2011.
The Customs Union became fully functional on July 1 when internal borders were removed and shifted to the external ones.
The next stage in the development of the Customs Union was entry into force of a set of signed and ratified agreements on the Common Economic Space from January 1, 2012.
The set included more than 100 international agreements.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev 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.