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14 Nov 2014

Mikhnevich: West begins to realize that EEU is a force to reckon with

MINSK, 14 November (BelTA) – The West is gradually beginning to realize that the Eurasian Economic Union of Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan and Armenia is a viable and solid organization, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Alexander Mikhnevich said at the Belarus-UK investment forum in London on 14 November, BelTA has learned.

According to Alexander Mikhnevich, some two years ago the West was skeptical about engaging in the bilateral talks with the Eurasian Economic Commission, although the Customs Union member states delegated a number of their powers in trade to this supranational body. “They said that they did not know much about the Customs Union, the Commission of the Eurasian Union and therefore they did not want to engage in any talks with them. They said they were willing to negotiate with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan only in the bilateral format,” Alexander Mikhnevich explained. The attitudes have recently changed, he said. They have come to realize that starting from 1 January 2015 they will have to conduct some talks with representatives of the Eurasian Economic Commission, in addition to the bilateral negotiations (for example, with Belarus or Russia).

“There is some understanding, including in the European Union, that it is a viable and serious organization,” the First Deputy Foreign Minister said. He added that a similar forum had recently been held in Washington. “The Department of State, the financial and business community sent an absolutely clear signal confirming their readiness to cooperate with our customs organization,” he said.

Addressing the participants of the forum, Alexander Mikhnevich noted that the principles governing the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union were largely borrowed from the European Union and the World Trade Organization. “Knowing that, you should not be afraid of operating on our market,” Alexander Mikhnevich underlined.

He noted that virtually all the commodities can move freely within the borders of the Eurasian Economic Union. The only exception is a small group of products, like some energy sources, tobacco and cigarettes, some pharmaceutical products.

 

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