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Sarkisyan: Agreement on Armenia’s joining Customs Union to be ready by May 2014

December 27, 2013, 23:29 UTC+3 YEREVAN
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YEREVAN, December 27, 23:20 /ITAR-TASS/. Armenia’s Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisyan said on Friday he hoped an agreement on his country’s joining the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan would be ready by May 2014.

“Under the roadmap that was endorsed by the presidents (of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia at their summit meeting in Moscow on December 24), we shall have an agreement on Armenia’s joining the Customs Union and supplements to this agreement already in May,” Sarkisyan told Itar-Tass.

“This is a task for 22 working groups of the best specialists and experts from our country,” he noted. “It is only natural that our Customs Union partners have given a high assessment to the work of our team of experts.”

“In case before May 2014 we reach agreement with our partners on all most sensitive and important issues, it will mean that in June the agreement will be submitted to the parliaments of the four countries for ratification,” he added.

At a meeting with editors-in-chief of the country’s leading mass media earlier on Friday, Sarkisyan said Armenia was interested in joining the Customs Union. “Taking a decision to join the Customs Union, we were fully aware that it is a multi-factor phenomenon,” he said. “There are numerous factors that would have a positive impact on our economy, our social and cultural life, on living standards but there are factor that might have negative impacts.”

“The government has done a mammoth analytical work,” he noted. These issues “were in focus of talks with the Customs Union members, first of all, with Russia.”

“The analysis of all these factors has pushed us to the conclusion that joining the Customs Union will be in Armenia’s interests, in the interests of our economy, in the interests of our people,” the Armenian prime minister stressed. “First and foremost, we will have a possibility to enter a big market to sell Armenian-made goods and services. It also means that our businesses will have more possibilities to expand their capacities. Moreover, they will be confident that in a short span of time they will have no obstacles in using this market.”

Currently, the Customs Union includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. In early September 2013, Armenia announced its plans to join the Customs Union. A memorandum on closer cooperation between Armenia and the Eurasian Economic Commission, a standing regulator of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, was signed in November.

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