GORKI, February 6. /TASS/. Kazakhstan does not plan to introduce restrictions on Russian imports, Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev said on Friday.
"There are no restrictions. We are not discussing anything like this," Sagintayev said.
"We are not going to introduce any restrictions," he stressed.
Russia’s Agriculture Minister Nikolay Fyodorov on Friday called "a misunderstanding" the reports on Kazakhstan’s plans to introduce restrictions on Russian products.
"We are actively strengthening the Customs Union, (there are) common rules and impermissibility of any restrictions. So, to talk about some kind of restrictions is a misunderstanding. It does not fit in with this (Customs Union). Our countries should make efforts to move in the direction of not only consolidation, but also creation of a powerful alliance of states," Fyodorov said.
Earlier on Friday, the Kommersant daily reported that Kazakhstan is considering the introduction of restrictions on importing a number of Russian goods as Kazakhstani producers find it increasingly difficult to compete with them in prices.
Importing to Kazakhstan is not strategically important for most Russian companies. However, such restrictions may threaten the economic integration of the two countries, the newspaper added.
Today, Kazakhstan and Russia are expected to discuss bilateral trade issues, sources in Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture and the Eurasian Economic Commission told Kommersant. According to the sources, Astana insists on introducing restrictions or even a ban on a number of Russian products as the devaluation of the Russian ruble (by 47% against Kazakhstani national currency tenge) threatens Kazakhstan’s domestic market. The products under consideration include petroleum products, automobiles, construction and building materials, along with poultry, eggs, confectionery, flour and juices.
The source in Russia’s Agriculture Ministry said the negotiations have been held for a week, and "there are no sufficient grounds for introducing any restrictions." The Customs Union did not register a sharp growth of imports from Russia to Kazakhstan over the past weeks, the source added.