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Russia-Belarus anti-crisis plan envisages removing restrictions on markets — Belarusian PM

March 05, 2015, 19:20 UTC+3 MINSK
Belarus is particularly interested in the deal as the Russian market has a much larger capacity
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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Belarusian Prime Minister Andrey Kobyakov, Mar. 3

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Belarusian Prime Minister Andrey Kobyakov, Mar. 3

© Yekaterina Shtukina/Russian government press service/TASS

MINSK, March 5. /TASS/. Russian-Belarusian agreement on developing trade and economic relations envisages removing restrictions on the markets of the two countries and increasing the number of payments in national currencies, Belarusian Prime Minister Andrey Kobyakov’s press secretary Olga Dolgaya told TASS on Thursday.

"It will allow us to remove mutual restrictions and expand access of both countries’ products to each other’s markets," Kobyakov said.

Belarus is particularly interested in the deal as the Russian market has a much larger capacity, he added. "Russian partners want to work on the Belarusian market as well," the prime minister said.

The decisions adopted in the framework of creating more favorable market conditions for the two countries will also be applied to goods produced jointly by Russia and Belarus, Kobyakov added.

In particular, the term "domestic goods" may soon be used for both Russian and Belarusian products which would allow them to participate in state procurement projects and tenders on an equal basis, he noted.

The anti-crisis plan adopted by Russia and Belarus also envisages increasing payments in national currencies of the two countries, the press secretary quoted Kobyakov as saying.

On March 3, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart signed a program on creating additional conditions for developing trade and economic cooperation. Kobyakov said he hopes the program will be implemented in the first half of 2015 and facilitate growth in trade turnover between the countries.

Overcoming barriers

The Union State of Russia and Belarus is capable of overcoming artificial barriers in cooperation, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday.

"We have come such a long way that it will be inexcusable, from the point of view of the peoples of our countries, to lose the velocity of moving forward, let alone artificially spurring disagreements," Lukashenko said at the session of the state council of the Union State.

Over the last two years, trade turnover between Russia and Belarus "has been slightly declining," Lukashenko admitted.

"One of the reasons for that is certainly the unfavorable external economic situation. However, we work not enough ourselves, spur tension in trade relations, imbalance in the economic policy between our countries, and that creates artificial barriers for free movement of goods," he added.

"We need to overcome these barriers," Lukashenko said. "And we will do it," he stressed.

The Union State’s budget for 2015 stands at around 5 billion rubles ($80.3 million), Lukashenko said. Eighty-five percent of this sum was distributed for financing 36 joint projects, he added. "In general, the pricing policy should be more flexible, effective, allowing to concentrate resources in priority spheres," the Belarusian leader noted.

Lukashenko has positively assessed cooperation between the two countries in coordinating foreign policy. "We will discuss the results of fulfilling the program of coordinated actions in the sphere of foreign policy of countries-members of the Agreement on Creating a Union State. We must react appropriately to growing external threats, to regional instability, most of all, with the aim of ensuring the stable development of our countries," he stressed.

Infographics The Eurasian Economic Union starts its work The Eurasian Economic Union starts its work
The Treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union comes into effect on January 1. Infographics by TASS

Developing common economic space

It is important not only to develop the common economic space of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, but also to step up cooperation in the framework of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday. The Union State represents a more advanced stage of integration, Putin noted.

"This time, we gathered to discuss one of the key issues of our cooperation - the development of the Union State, and much has been done in this respect over the last years," Putin said at talks with Lukashenko.

"One does not substitute for another, if we are talking about creating a common market together with Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia, creating common economic space," the president added. "In the framework of the Union State, there are certain issues and tasks that we tackle, and in this sense, it [the Union State] is in some way more advanced, especially if we look at social issues and how we solve them in the interests of our citizens," Putin stressed.

Lukashenko noted that the economic union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan has expanded thanks to Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. "Today, we have an opportunity to formalize all our discussions, negotiations and take concrete decisions. The time is not easy, not easy for the whole world, and it requires action," the Belarusian leader stressed.

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