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15 Aug 2018

Belarus suggests liability for wriggling out of EAEU commitments

MINSK, 15 August (BelTA) – Belarus has suggested considering real accountability for failure to honor commitments within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Belarus’ First Deputy Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi said at the conference “Eurasian Economic Union: Development Strategy” on 15 August, BelTA has learned.

“We need to respond timely and adequately to the challenges facing the union and to review our legal framework, which includes the forthcoming dramatic overhaul of the basic agreement. The ultimate goal is to make EAEU member states accountable, including financially liable, for failing to honor their commitments within the EAEU, like it is in the European Union where concrete countries are punished by concrete amounts of euro,” Dmitry Krutoi noted.

Belarus is ready to consider and discuss proposals on giving more powers to supranational bodies, first of all, the Eurasian Economic Commission. The commission should be given real leverage to ensure that the EAEU member states honor their commitments.

Belarus is ready to work on it as it will assume chairmanship in the EAEU agencies in 2020. Its agenda for 2020 is being elaborated now. Belarus is determined to cover all the issues that require consideration.

There is a varying degree of fulfilling goals declared by the union. Domestic commodity markets are still plagued by non-tariff restrictions that are often explained as veterinary, sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Public procurement restrictions that were presented as exceptional and temporary measures (for the maximum period of two years) have come to stay. As far as the services market is concerned, two key areas were exempted from the common regulatory framework: transfer of electric energy and international road haulage. The single technical regulation space is not functioning in full; only national conformity assessment documents are accepted for quite a number of commodities; there are no transboundary mechanisms of punishing those who supply goods with fake certificates.

Being an export-oriented country with an open economy, Belarus is interested in the free movement of goods and services within the union and comprehensive development of foreign trade. According to experts, the removal of non-tariff barriers alone could boost trade within the EAEU by about 23%. Belarus’ supplies to Kazakhstan could skyrocket by 70%. All in all, Belarus’ GDP could grow by almost 3%.

Dmitry Krutoi suggested focusing on topical issues related to trade on the domestic markets, coming up with a single industrial and agricultural policy, creating equal or at least similar conditions in power engineering, streamlining public procurement, standards and technical regulations. The agenda should also include roaming charges, prices for air and railway service between the capitals of the EAEU, a status of foreign players, and visa issues.

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