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22 December 2015, 19:56

Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan work out provisional scheme to control transit via Ukraine

MOSCOW, 22 December (BelTA) – Representatives of Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan have held consultations upon instructions of their presidents for the sake of discussing the transit of Ukrainian merchandise and products from the European Union. The sides came up with a provisional scheme to control the transit. The scheme will be polished by the end of the year, BelTA learned from First Vice Premier of Russia Igor Shuvalov on 22 December.

The official said that consultations were held on 22 December to discuss the transit of Ukrainian merchandise or goods from the European Union, which can be transported in transit via Ukraine to Belarus and Kazakhstan. “We have worked out a provisional scheme that will allow fully controlling merchandise flows from Ukraine via Belarus or the Russian Federation to Kazakhstan. The cargoes will be convoyed. It will be totally impossible to somehow consume Ukrainian goods in the Russian Federation under the guise of transit,” said Igor Shuvalov.

BelTA quoted Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko as saying during the session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Moscow on 21 December that the Eurasian Economic Union member states will work out measures to protect their market after the Ukraine-EU free trade zone agreement comes into effect on 1 January 2016.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, not only Russia but other EEU member states were concerned about the issue. “A serious situation is developing around the CIS free trade zone. Not only Russia but all of us have certain concerns about it,” noted the Belarus President. The Russian Federation has been discussing the problem with the European Union. No agreement has been reached so far, the EEU heads of state were told on 21 December. “We fear no talking will be done till 1 January either,” said Alexander Lukashenko. “This is why a situation may occur when Ukrainian products are substituted with imports from the European Union while Ukrainian products flood our territory.”

Another consideration is more alarming. If a European Union product is imported into Ukraine with zero customs duties, then it can be sold across the entirety of the Commonwealth of Independent States due to the relevant free trade agreement unless this market is protected. Russia has already taken measures to protect the market from such a situation.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, it was decided that the problem will be looked at in Q1 2016. Within half a year digital declarations will be introduced for commodities that will be transported to the Eurasian Economic Union. A similar system is already in place in Belarus-Russia trade. It can be used as a reference point in the EEU, however, a new approach may be worked out as well. “We have agreed to look through these options within half a year,” said the Belarus President.

After the session Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Viktor Khristenko explained that plans had been made to create a common information system within half a year to register the merchandise imported into the Eurasian Economic Union. The system will track all the commodities imported into the Eurasian Economic Union. “It is something we've been unable to create up till now as a common information environment for the five customs services. The system is supposed to create an understandable and transparent situation with regard to the movement of the relevant commodities in the Eurasian Economic Union,” he said.

Consequences of the Ukraine-EU free trade zone agreement will be monitored for half a year. Legal and technical instruments to information exchange will be worked out.

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