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Opinions & Interviews

5 Sep 2019

Presidents of Belarus, Russia to sign integration program in December

Presidents of Belarus, Russia to sign integration program in December
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MINSK, 5 September (BelTA) – The action program on integration and a number of other agreements will be signed by the presidents of Belarus and Russia in December, Belarusian Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi told reporters, BelTA has learned.

“The presidents are set to sign the program and a package of roadmaps, as well as a number of agreements that will address sensitive issues, first of all those related to gas. This will be a presidents’ package,” the minister noted.

According to him, this will be done as agreed, on 8 December as this date will mark the 20th anniversary of the Union State Treaty. The documents might as well be signed a day before. “The presidents will stick to the date that was agreed upon in Saint Petersburg. What we are doing now is preparatory work,” Dmitry Krutoi said.

In his words, the action program will be a framework document. “All the matters will be specified in roadmaps. After that, the parties will start drafting normative acts. The work on these documents will be in progress throughout 2020. The decree of harmonization varies depending on the area of expertise these documents cover. For example, as far as customs services are concerned, nearly everything has been harmonized in this field within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. However, there are some sectors where the scale of amendments is still not clear,” the minister said.

Dmitry Krutoi added that it has yet to be decided what amount of normative documents is to be revised throughout 2020. “Common markets of main commodities will be up and running starting from 1 January 2021. This is a general concept and it allows for sector-specific deviations,” he said.

When asked whether any thorny issues remain between the two states, the minister answered in the affirmative, however he did not go into details. “We will get a better understanding of these disputes and will issue some comments only after industry-wise specialists will scrutinize the roadmaps. After that we will get a clear picture of the disputes,” he explained.

Dmitry Krutoi noted that the price for the Russian gas to be shipped to Belarus after 1 January 2020 will be specified in a separate intergovernmental agreement.

He described the communication with the Russian side as a businesslike and meaningful dialogue.

A reminder, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas informed earlier that Belarus and Russia may initial the action program on integration in the Union State of Belarus and Russia in September. The working group and then the prime ministers fully worked out the action program on implementing the Union State treaty and are ready to initial it.  After that the text of the program is to be published.

The action program is based on the concept, which provides for implementing the principle “two countries – one market”. About 28 roadmaps will be worked out on the basis of the action program. They are supposed to be prepared by 1 November. The roadmaps will provide for a set of measures to establish common markets in specific branches of the economy. From the point of view of commercial entities the program will enable equal conditions – not only energy resources but also the tax burden and equal regulatory requirements, Sergei Rumas explained.

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