MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. Russia is ready to suggest updating the Treaty on the Creation of a Union State of Russia and Belarus, First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Tuesday.
"We have set up a working group, we - the Russian and the Belarusian side, must look at the text of the union treaty, and possibly suggest updating it. And then, if we want to integrate, we have no objections to it actually," Siluanov said in an interview with RBK Television at the Gaidar Forum.
The first deputy prime minister admitted that "progress towards creating a Union State has slowed down of late, and has not been implemented in practice".
"We are saying - let us update the treaty. But if we are building a Union State, some elements of this Union State must be implemented," he stressed.
Minsk and Moscow have been engaged of late in thorny negotiations on the activity of the Belarusian oil processing sector in conditions of Russia’s tax maneuver.
The tax maneuver in the oil sector implies a reduction of crude export duties and simultaneously raising the mineral extraction tax. The tax maneuver is aimed at reducing the dependence of Russia’s budget on export duties, which drop following global oil price movements.
Currently, Minsk wants to compel Russia to provide compensation for the tax maneuver in the oil sector that will push the oil price for Belarusian refineries up. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Lyashenko said earlier that the losses of two Belarusian oil refining plants and the country’s budget from Russia’s tax maneuver would total $383 mln with the oil price at $70 per barrel in 2019. According to Lyashenko, Minsk expected to receive $310-315 mln from Russia. Anton Siluanov said earlier that Moscow could provide compensation only in case of closer integration.