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Russia's Deputy Prime Minister outlines future economic cooperation with CIS partners

October 25, 2013, 12:53 UTC+3
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will decide by 2014 on what points and what term trade restrictions will remain
1 pages in this article
Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Klimentyev

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Klimentyev

MINSK, October 25 (Itar-Tass) - Russia and Belarus have not coordinated yet oil supplies to the republic in the fourth quarter, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

This year oil is supplied based on quarterly balance sheets. Totally, Russia was planning to supply 18.5 million tonnes of oil to Belarus. But the republic insists 23 million tonnes should be supplied.

“Till now neither the energy minister [Alexander Novak] nor [Deputy Prime Minister Arkady] Dvorkovich are coordinating the schedule of supplies that Belarus asked for,” Shuvalov said.

“Now we intend to supply 21 tonnes. But Belarus asks more. We’re in the negotiating process,” he added.

Trade barriers

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will decide by 2014 on what points and what term trade restrictions will remain, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

Earlier, it was scheduled that when the Eurasian economic union is launched from January 1, 2015 the common economic space between the three countries “will act without restrictions, i.e. without customs barriers, which remain on certain goods and services within the Customs Union”. However, the parties failed to reach agreement on several issues.

Thus, Shuvalov said, the parties agreed that “we’ll give up a formula ‘without exemptions and restrictions from January 1, 2015’ just now. By March 2014 we’ll submit a list of exemptions under which transition periods and terms, which these exemptions stop functioning, will be set up”.

“I hope that the treaty [on creating and functioning the Eurasian economic union] will be ratified. I hope that the treaty will start acting from January 1, 2015,” Shuvalov said.

Commenting on any problems, the Russian first Deputy Prime Minister said Kazakhstan disagreed with proposals on certain positions, for example on services.

“Kazakhstan believes that if services start working from January 1, 2015, the country’s situation will be worse because many services in Russia are more competitive,” Shuvalov said, adding, “The country means banking, insurance and financial services. Thus, a transition period will take several years as minim

Ukraine and CIS free trade zone

Russia and Ukraine will resume consultations on duties within the CIS free trade zone agreement within the next two week in light of Kiev’s plans to integrate into Europe, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

On Thursday, October 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the countries of the Customs Union reserved the right to use protocol 6 of the free trade zone agreement to protect their market.

“It no way means that Russia would impose a ban on imports of Ukrainian goods. But it means that these goods will enjoy no privileges within the free trade zone and the most-favoured nation regime will not be applicable to them,” the Russian president said.

“We’ve started consultations with Ukraine under this procedure in compliance with Protocol 6. The Russian government has requested for such consultations and we’ve started them,” Shuvalov said, adding, “The second round of Russian-Ukrainian consultations may be held within two weeks.”

He said the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakhstani presidents had granted the EEC Council at the level of Deputy Prime Ministers “to take a decision on introducing a common customs tariff for Ukraine if it forms the free trade zone with the European Union”.

“This means that we can introduce a common customs tariff [a code of customs duties for import of goods from third countries] for all goods that transfer to the common customs territory from Ukraine,” Shuvalov said.

He said while adopting protective measures, all requirements of the CIS free trade zone agreements were observed in full. “None can wait for we’ll do nothing in this aspect,” Shuvalov added.

“Thus, if Ukraine and the EU form the free trade zone, we’ll be opened to our uttermost. But we’ll act firmly,” the Russian first Deputy Prime Minister said.

Secretary-general 

MINSK, October 25 (Itar-Tass) - The post of secretary-general will not be introduced in the Eurasian economic union, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said.

“Discussions were held if we need the post of secretary-general or a committee of permanent representatives. We decided that there was need to heavy up the construction,” the Russian first Deputy Prime Minister said.

A treaty on the creation of the Eurasian economic union will come into effect on January 1, 2015. It will comprise two parts - constituent and economic. The first one will determine all institutions of the Eurasian economic union, its rights and functions. The economic part will regard issues related to transition periods for certain trade barriers.

Kazakhstan and WTO

At negotiations with Kazakhstan over the terms of the country's admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) the European Union and the US are trying to gain some 'extra bonuses,' such as easier access to the Russian market, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told journalists on Friday.

Russia and Kazakhstan are closely tied within the Customs Union. The former is already a WTO member, while Kazakhstan is only seeking accession. Shuvalov believes Kazakhstan's WTO admission talks are “stalled”.

“In negotiations with Kazakhstan the EU and the US are trying to get what they failed to obtain while negotiating with Russia,” Shuvalov believes. He called Kazakhstan “a hostage” of the West in its negotiations with Russia.

Shuvalov recalled that Russia had refused to make concessions on “the most sensitive items - aircraft, helicopters, agricultural machinery and cars” and managed to negotiate the desirable level level of customs protection with the EU and the US. Now, he said, the Western countries were trying to make Kazakhstan “include all these items in the general formula and lower the level of customs protection”.

He added that although Kazakhstan was an important market itself, Russia's market was more significant for the West now, so it started “indirect talks with us”.

Shuvalov concluded the West was trying to use talks with Kazakhstan to enter the Russian market on the conditions Russia had earlier rejected.

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