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Talks on free trade zone between Israel, Eurasian Economic Union in progress — Israel FM

Israel’s foreign minister hopes the talks will enter final stage in April

MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. The negotiations on establishing a free trade zone between Israel and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia may switch to a final stage already this April, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an exclusive interview with TASS on Tuesday.

“We are now considering and very intensively working on creating a free trade zone [with the Eurasian Economic Union]. This will allow us to significantly boost our mutual trade,” Lieberman said, marking good progress in this issue.

Earlier on Tuesday, Israel’s foreign minister held a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. “We discussed this. If we speak about the real time framework, we hope that in April they will switch to a final stage,” he said.

Lieberman reminded that the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed similar documents with Vietnam. “This is the first such model and we hope to be the second one,” he said.

The minister said both sides have been working rather intensively and are rather satisfied by the effort. “This is a complex system and a complex agreement which includes many parameters: standardization, customs procedures and many other things, but everything is going forward normally,” he said.

On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did not rule out that the Eurasian Economic Union and Israel could conclude an agreement on establishing a free trade zone.

“We have received proposals from several dozen countries to sign agreements with the Eurasian Economic Union on creating free trade zones,” Lavrov said, adding that Israel has also shown such an interest.

Lavrov said talks are underway with other countries and in case of an agreement on the issue, such a free trade zone can be created.

Last week, Georgy Petrov, vice president of Russia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Egypt could soon conclude an agreement to establish a free trade zone with the EEU.

The Eurasian Economic Union is an economic and political bloc bringing together Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia, with Kyrgyzstan to join in May 2015.

The treaty to form EEU went into full effect on January 1, 2015. The population of the union is about 171 million people and its gross domestic product is expected to reach $3 trillion next year.