MOSCOW, June 9 (Itar-Tass) -- Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will enter into the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a common customs space and therefore will stop separate negotiations on WTO membership, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said after the Tuesday meeting of the ruling body of the tripartite customs union.
“The prime ministers of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will notify the WTO of their intention to start negotiations on the accession of the tripartite customs union to the organization and the end of national negotiations on WTO membership,” he said.
“The entry into the WTO is our common priority, but we want to do that as a common customs space,” he said.
“While fulfilling the order of chiefs of state to prioritize the formation of the tripartite customs union, the prime ministers confirm their adherence to the accession to the WTO but note that the accession process has been impeding integration,” says a statement of the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh premiers posted on Tuesday.
“The three countries have a large economic potential and profound integration benefits, so they approve a common customs tariff, which will be presented to the EurAsEC summit. The tariff is due to enter into force on January 1, 2010,” the statement runs.
The prime ministers approved the schedule of forming the common customs space, with due account of the beginning operation of the customs union on January 1, 2010, and the completion of all customs union formalities before July 1, 2011.
On behalf of the tripartite customs union, Russia will ask the WTO to suspend national membership negotiations, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said. He explained the move with Russia’s presidency in the customs union this year.
Russia will intensify efforts in the development of a special relationship with the European Union, in particular, in the formation of a free trade zone, Putin said.
“However, these processes will be held in line with the tripartite customs union agreement,” he remarked.