MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. BRICS countries may sign an agreement on more profound economic integration in the next 5 years, First Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachev said Monday.
"Of course, it is now premature to talk about the BRICS economic agreement. But if the approach and the crystallization of our association as an international group will take place at the same pace as now, the economic agreement within a few years will be quite timely and inevitable. I think it can happen within five years," Likhachev said in an interview with TASS.
In his opinion, the correct decision is that "we do not rush events and not grind out an agreement on free trade zone now."
"Countries are not yet ready for it psychologically. But we are already discussing the terms of the agreement regime," he added.
However, Likhachev expressed confidence that "the day when the BRICS countries will speak about the economic agreement is not far away". According to him, the agreement will undergo several stages.
"At first it will be a declarative document that will inspire our countries to cooperate more actively. Then it could be non-preferential agreements, which optimize regulatory system, simplify customs and investment procedures, create the so-called "green corridors" for goods. The third phase is a preferential regime - concessions that we will make in terms of commodity trade," Likhachev said.
BRICS ministers of trade and economic development will discuss forming a common approach to the completion of WTO Doha round, Likhachev added.
"We plan to discuss common approach to the completion of WTO Doha round at the meeting of trade and economic development ministers," Likhachev said.