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9 Oct 2014

Belarus President signs law on EEU Treaty ratification

MINSK, 10 October (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signed a law to ratify the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty on 9 October, Head of the Presidential Administration Andrei Kobyakov told media, BelTA has learned.

Andrei Kobyakov stressed that the law reproduces the statement the Belarusian head of state made in Astana on 29 May 2014 when the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty was signed. The statement reads that Belarus will meet its obligations within the agreement in an honest manner and will take other measures for its implementation given agreements are made to remove barriers, restrictions and exemptions for trade in commodities and services, first of all, in respect to energy carriers, products of assembling plants, liberalization of motor transportation and other vulnerable positions.

The Head of the Presidential Administration explained why the Belarusian side deemed it necessary to repeat this statement in the ratification document. Thus, during the work on the treaty the parties came to terms on some exemptions and restrictions in mutual trade through 2025. They were strictly defined and their validity period was discussed. According to Andrei Kobyakov, one of vulnerable positions for Belarus are exemptions on hydrocarbons. “Belarus has always been a staunch advocate of abolishing all exemptions and restrictions in the Single Economic Space, i.e. in the movement of goods, services, capital and workforce. We have the most open economy out of all the Union member states. We are extremely interested in barrier-free trade, capital and workforce movement within the union,” the Head of the Presidential Administration said.

In his words, these exemptions will total about $3.3 billion. “This is the volume of export customs duties on oil products of the Belarusian oil refineries. It is the condition agreed upon by Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan in 2010 during the signing of the corresponding agreement on the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space. The Presidents of the three countries agreed that all the customs duties generated from the export of oil products made from the Russian oil delivered to the Belarusian oil refineries will go to the Russian budget,” Andrei Kobyakov said.

“Due to an absolutely new stage of integration - the Eurasian Economic Union from 1 January 2015, the Belarusian side suggested no exemptions to its partners. However, as we know, the parties came to an agreement that these and other exemptions will stay through 2025,” Andrei Kobyakov said. “Bearing in mind the vulnerability of the issue, the parties held special talks on the situation in order to regulate it before the signing of the document in Astana. The talks resulted in the agreement on $1.5 billion out of these $3.3 billion of export customs duties will remain in the Belarusian budget. The rest will be transferred to the budget of Russia,” he added.

In his words, this agreement was recorded in the relevant protocol of the agreement valid through 2024 inclusive. “The parties agreed that such distribution of export customs duties will be held on a yearly basis unless the parties decide otherwise. Basing on the fact that exemptions will be in place through 2024 inclusively, the Belarusian side saw it fit and the President signed the statement adopted by the Belarusian parliament in the corresponding law on 9 October,” the Head of the Presidential Administration said.

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