EAEU Expected To Reach Intra-Bloc Tariff Agreements

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The members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia – are expected to reach final agreements on tariffs at Friday’s meeting of the EAEU Intergovernmental Council in Kyrgyzstan. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, speaking earlier stated “Today, we will discuss pressing issues related to the Union’s activities, including supranational regulations. I hope that we will reach final agreements on the issue you have just mentioned, I mean, tariff distribution.” Medvedev said at a meeting between the heads of EAEU countries’ delegations and Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

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The Russian prime minister highlighted the importance of issues concerning the development of digital economy and a common financial market. “We have achieved certain success indeed. Administrative barriers are coming down, though not as fast as we would like them to.” Medvedev noted.

The EAEU has strategic importance as it sits between the Western borders of China with Kazakhstan and the Eastern borders of the European Union with Belarus and Poland. It is a free trade area and members states have been working for a number of years to reach final agreement on intra-bloc tariffs. Doing so will provide a much easier system of customs clearance between nations and facilitate trade and connectivity links between China, the EAEU and European Union. The overland route is the fastest way to move products from China to the EU and vice versa, so getting tariffs agreed among member EAEU states is a key issue.

It is also likely to enhance the EAEU’s capability to agree Free Trade deals with other countries. At present, Vietnam, a member of the ASEAN group of nations has an FTA with the EAEU which has seen Vietnamese-Russian bilateral trade in particular increase significantly from zero to billions of dollars per annum.

China also has an FTA with the EAEU however this is non specific at present, and does not cover any products, although this is also currently under negotiation. Other Asian nations such as Singapore, Thailand Iran and Turkey have also expressed interest in an FTA, as has Egypt. The bloc will be one to watch when both internal tariffs between existing members, and additional FTA are agreed.


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