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09 April 2018, 13:37

Belarus calls for dismantling barriers for more effective integration in Eurasian Economic Union

MINSK, 9 April (BelTA) – Results of economic integration inside the Eurasian Economic Union could be more impressive were it not for the problem of multiple barriers. Belarusian First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Yeudachenka made the statement in a recent interview with the Director magazine, BelTA has learned.

The Eurasian Economic Union will always be important for the Belarusian economy and Belarus' foreign trade, believes the first deputy minister of foreign affairs. “A lot has been done in the three years since the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty was signed. We could have done more but I would like to emphasize that we witnessed one of the most complicated and dramatic periods in the history of the global economy in the three years. A decrease in business activity, trade, and investment activity across the globe could not but affect our region. This is why as we talk about accomplishments of our national economy and the economy of the union as a whole today, we should admit that the accomplishments could be smaller were it not for our mutual aid and solidarity within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. In 2017 when the global economy started getting out of recession, results of our integration demonstrated considerable effectiveness,” stressed Andrei Yeudachenka. “Results of economic integration of the five countries could be more impressive if we could resolve the problem of multiple barriers, exemptions, and restrictions in our economic interaction and trade.”

The official stated that certain work to address the problem is in progress. In October 2016 the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission passed a special executive order, which helped start the mechanism for the mutual removal of obstacles. Belarus and the partners have reviewed all the hindrances in the Eurasian Economic Union. Ten obstacles were dismantled in the sphere of customs regulations, technical regulations, and labor migration in 2017. The Eurasian Intergovernmental Council has adopted a roadmap for the 2018-2019 period, which provides for dismantling 17 obstacles.

The Belarusian first deputy minister of foreign affairs said: “As we battle obstacles, barriers, and restrictions, we have to clearly understand that we fight consequences, not causes. In order to remove the existing barriers and restrictions in the area of technical regulation, government procurement, subsidies, the formation of a common agrarian market, a market of transport services, in order to enable equal conditions for all the commercial entities in the Eurasian Economic Union member states, it is of vital importance to accelerate the development of common industrial, agricultural, transport, and energy policies. Just the way a genuine economic union would have it, just the way the European Union has done it. Only by working out and observing fundamental principles of economic integration, we will be able to dismantle all the barriers and receive maximum benefits from building an economic union.”

According to Andrei Yeudachenka, in order to give the Eurasian Economic Union a competitive edge over other integration projects it is important to focus not on expanding the union but on the depth of interaction inside it. “It is a particularly acute problem for Belarus. Belarus has an extremely open economy since we export nearly 70% of the manufactured goods and services. This is why the depth of integration will always be important for our country. Our industries should man up and initiate the formation of common policies based on legal acts, which disallow various loopholes and exemptions, which may lead to new obstacles in our economic cooperation,” said the Belarusian first deputy minister of foreign affairs.

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