URUMQI, September 02, /ITAR-TASS/. Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the Customs Union created by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia will make it more competitive in attracting foreign investments and becoming an efficient transit country, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Joomart Otorbaev said on Monday.
“We will join the Customs Union before the end of the year. All formalities will have been completed by that time. An external market of more than 170 million people will make Kyrgyzstan more competitive as a party to the Silk Road Economic Belt and as a transit country,” he said at the 4th international exhibition EXPO China-Eurasia in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, western China.
In August, Russia and Kyrgyzstan agreed $500 million worth of financial facilities for Kyrgyzstan’s development and its integration into the Customs Union.
According to the roadmap for Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the Customs Union, Bishkek will join it and the Eurasian Economic Union before January 1, 2015, while trying to avoid negative effects for its own economy and the Customs Union member states.
Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov spoke of the vast potential of the Customs Union common market free of administrative barriers.
Members of the Armenian delegation said the preparation of their country’s accession to the Customs Union would be completed within several months.
On September 3, 2013, after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan announced that the “Republic of Armenia will join the Customs Union and will take practical steps to this end and will subsequently participate in forming the Eurasian Economic Union”.
At their summit in Moscow on December 24, 2013, the presidents of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia approved an accession roadmap, which said that the treaty on Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union would be ready by May 2014.
The Customs Union between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan was established on December 19, 2009, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where the leaders of the three states - Dmitry Medvedev, Alexander Lukashenko, and Nursultan Nazarbayev - signed the Joint Statement on its founding. The first phase of the Customs Union’s functioning began on January 1, 2010, with the introduction of a uniform customs tariff.
President Putin expressed hope that the agreement on the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union would become effective from January 2015.
Common markets of oil, petroleum products and gas of the three countries will start operating no later than 2025, and a common electricity market slightly earlier.
Putin stressed the need to guarantee “four freedoms”: free movement of goods, services, capital and labour among the member states. “It is important to set forth concrete obligations to eliminate exclusions and limitations remaining in the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space,” Putin said.