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India-EAEU free trade zone agreement may be signed not earlier than 2017 — minister

July 13, 14:33 UTC+3 YEKATERINBURG
According to Alexei Likhachev, Russia wants the provisions of the agreement cover not only goods, but also a number of other parameters
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National flag in Ahmadabad, India

National flag in Ahmadabad, India

© AP Photo/Ajit Solanki

YEKATERINBURG, July 13. /TASS/. The agreement on a free trade zone between India and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) may be signed not earlier than 2017, Russia’s First Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachev told reporters.

"I think it will be next year, not earlier," he said.

"A joint research group has been working for more than a year. The Eurasian Union and Indian formed such groups to define the content of the agreement. Our work will soon be completed but it turned out that the Indian side was moving in that direction not as fast as we would want it to," First Deputy Economic Development Minister said.

According to Likhachev, Russia wants the provisions of the agreement cover not only goods, but also a number of other parameters.

"This process (agreement on a free trade zone - TASS) becomes especially important in connection with India’s entering the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In this sense, big Eurasia, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about, based within the EAEU countries and the boundaries of the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation, is very important for us," he said.

Russia expects India to join the SCO within a year, Likhachev said and expressed the hope that India will speed up the work on signing of the free trade zone agreement with EAEU.

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. Kyrgyzstan and Armenia also joined the EAEU.

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