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Sanctions to have no considerable effect on Customs Union — Eurasian Commission minister

September 30, 2014, 13:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The effect of sanctions will be minimal in the short term and very limited in the medium term, Eurasian Economic Commission Trade Minister Andrey Slepnyov

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MOSCOW, September 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Sanctions will cause no major effect on the Customs Union’s foothold in the world trade scene, Eurasian Economic Commission Trade Minister Andrey Slepnyov told the conference "Competitiveness of Russian Businesses" in Moscow on Tuesday.

“One can hardly expect these sanctions to affect our standing on the world scene to any extent,” he said. Slepnyov believes that the effect of sanctions will be minimal in the short term and very limited in the medium term. “If the sanctions last a while, of course, the effect of sanctions will be felt to some extent,” he added.

Slepnyov said that toward the end of 2014, the Customs Union’s foreign trade may decline somewhat, “but in 2015 we shall most probably get to the standard amounts of supplies and the list of goods and geography of supplies will undergo change.” He believes that in the sphere of agro-industrial production the market will re-orient itself to new providers much faster than it has been originally expected.

“There is no reason to say that 2014 may see a significant decline in the supplies of farming products. We shall keep an eye on all changes in the geography of supplies,” he added.

Slepnyov expects certain growth in the prices of import products, which will be largely due to the weakening of the ruble.

Talking about an upsurge in the influx of "grey" supplies of products, prohibited from entering Russia through Belarus and Kazakhstan, Slepnyov said that some schemes of that sort had been exposed already, and “usually they do not last”. “For the time being, there have been no signs this process may acquire a dangerous scale,” he stated.

Speaking about the dynamics of foreign trade by the Customs Union countries and the trading relations within the union, Slepnyov said there was a certain drop. According to official EEC statistics, the Customs Union member countries’ trade with third countries in January-July went down by 1.2% and mutual trade between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, by 10.7%.

Slepnyov pointed to the main reasons for such dynamics, such as the restrictive influence of institutional and structural factors, problems with business climate, the effectiveness of regulatory procedures, expensive borrowing, etc.

The EEC trade minister expects that the weakening of the ruble and the food embargo will cause a further decline in the import from third countries, while the growth of export will be insignificant. “The balance of trade with third countries will be getting better, but one can say that foreign trade is at a zero-growth stage,” Slepnyov concluded.

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