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Belarus may ratify Eurasian trading bloc treaty on October 9

October 06, 2014, 16:04 UTC+3 MINSK
Belarus will ratify the document if Minsk and Moscow settle the issue of Russia’s oil tax maneuver
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© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metzel

MINSK, October 6. /TASS/. The parliament of Belarus may ratify the treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union on October 9, a senior Belarusian lawmaker said on Monday.

“Possibly, this will happen on October 9. We are preparing this document for consideration at a parliament session on October 9,” Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Belarusian House of Representatives Nikolai Samoilenko said.

The Belarusian lawmaker said Belarus would ratify the document if Minsk and Moscow settled the issue of Russia’s oil tax maneuver.

Russia’s tax maneuver in the oil industry

Russia’s tax maneuver envisages a sharp fall in export duties and a significant rise in the subsoil tax.

Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said last week Belarus might lose over $1 billion from Russia’s tax maneuver and proposed a scheme for Moscow to compensate for its losses.

Belarusian oil refineries acquire Russian crude oil at Russia’s internal prices as part of the common economic space between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and use refined oil for exports, paying the export duty to the Russian budget as compensation.

Belarus has proposed that the republic should fully retain the export duty on petroleum products refined from the Russian crude to compensate for losses from the tax maneuver.

It was earlier reported that Belarus and Russia would discuss on October 9 a possibility of compensating for Minsk’s losses from Russia’s oil tax maneuver.

“This issue will be on the agenda of a meeting of a Russia-Belarus high-level group in Minsk. We’ll discuss the consequences of this tax maneuver for the Russian and Belarusian economies,” Russia’s Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachyov said last week.

The Treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union was intended to be ratified by its member states simultaneously. By now, the document has been ratified by the parliaments of Russia and Kazakhstan.

Eurasian Economic Union Treaty

The Treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union was signed by the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on May 29, 2014 in Astana.

The agreement is the basic document defining the accords between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for creating the Eurasian Economic Union for the free movement of goods, services, capital and workforce and conducting coordinated, agreed or common policies in key sectors of the economy, such as energy, industry, agriculture and transport.

The agreement stipulates the transition of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to the next stage of integration after the Customs Union and the common economic space.

It defines the structure, powers and work procedures for the union’s bodies that comprise the Higher Eurasian Economic Council composed of the heads of state, the Eurasian Inter-Governmental Council composed of the heads of governments of the union’s member states, the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Eurasian Economic Union Court.

A separate part of the agreement formulates the principles of forming the union’s budget, which will be made up of ruble contributions by the member states. The size of the contributions will be determined by the Higher Council.

The Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union stipulates customs and technical regulation, foreign trade policies and measures to protect the internal market. The agreement envisages the transition to common customs tariffs.

The agreement also stipulates the principles of coordinated macro-economic and foreign exchange policies, financial market regulation, interaction in the energy and transport sectors, the development of a common gas, oil, petroleum product, medicines and medical equipment market.

The Treaty’s provisions cover such areas as intellectual property and state purchases, industry, agriculture and labor migration. The document also regulates information interaction within the union.

The document defines the Russian language as the union’s working language. The Treaty also stipulates that the Eurasian Commission will be headquartered in Moscow, the Eurasian Economic Union Court in Minsk and the financial regulator in Almaty.

It says that the union is open for accession by any state sharing the union’s goals and principles on the terms agreed by the member countries.

The document stipulates a 10-year period for the union’s member states to fully harmonize their national legislatures.

The Treaty on the Eurasian Economci Union is set to come into effect from January 1, 2015.

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