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Russia, Turkey may give preferential treatment to some economic sectors

September 16, 2014, 19:23 UTC+3 ISTANBUL
This might be a comprehensive agreement on a free trade zone, or separate sectoral preferential treatment, for example for agricultural products
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Russian Minister for Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev

Russian Minister for Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev

© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Astafyev

ISTANBUL, September 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia and Turkey may give preferential treatment to some economic sectors, the Russian Minister for Economic Development told reporters on Tuesday.

Russia is a member of the Customs Union with Kazakhstan and Belarus, while Turkey and the EU are linked by a Customs Union agreement, “but both agreements allow for the setting up of free trade zones with third countries,” Alexei Ulyukayev said after talks with his Turkish counterpart Nihat Zeybekci.

This could be a comprehensive agreement on a free trade zone, or separate sectoral preferential treatment, for example for agricultural products, the Russian minister said.

Turkey’s agricultural sector was not subject to compulsory co-ordination with EU regulatory agencies. “This means they have the right to sign an independent agreement in the agricultural sector with any country,” he said.

However, in the event Turkey wants to sign a comprehensive agreement on the whole list of goods, it will have to coordinate its position with the European Union, while Russia will have to act in compliance with Customs Union procedures.

“A sectoral agreement looks most likely as that easier to coordinate, he said, adding that Russia and Turkey would look into both options.

In response to Western sanctions over Ukraine, the Russian government imposed on August 6 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.

The list of the banned products includes cattle meat (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), pork (fresh, chilled and refrigerated), poultry meat and all poultry edible by-products, salted meat, pickled meat, dried meat, smoked meat, fish and shell fish, clams and other water invertebrates, milk and dairy products, vegetables, edible roots and tuber crops, fruits and nuts, sausage and analogous meat products, meat by-products or blood, as well as products made of them, ready-to-eat products including cheeses and cottage-cheese based on vegetable fats.

"Turkey interested in Crimea special economic zone"

Turkey has shown interest in investment into projects in a special economic zone to be set up in Crimea, Russian Minister for Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev told Rossiya 24 television on Tuesday.

Speaking after talks in Istanbul, he said the amount of Turkey’s cumulative investment in the Russian economy stood at about 10 billion dollars.

“Turkey shows considerable interest in special economic zones. It is especially active in special economic zones in [Russia’s republic of] Tatarstan,” the minister added.

A special economic zone in Crimea should be established for a term of from 25 to 50 years, Crimea’s acting head Sergei Aksyonov told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily early in September.

According to Aksyunov, the Crimean special economic zone will offer considerable privileges: a reduced profit and value added taxes, zero import value added tax in the spheres of tourism, agriculture, industry, and construction.

“Today, debates are about terms of this special economic zone. There are different viewpoints: five, ten and 25 years. We would like to have this status for at least 25 years. And maybe, up to 50 - to give businesses a long-term perspective,” he said.

Crimean experts, according to Aksyonov, suggest an investment agency be set up in Crimea to deal with issues of attracting investors and backing investment projects.

“I am sure we must look at a possible establishment of a sort of Silicon Valley that would host advanced communications and microelectronics facilities, and a Crimean technology park…,” he said.

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