EEU prime ministers discuss expansion of mutual trade

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BISHKEK (TCA) — On March 7, Bishkek hosted a regular meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council, during which prime ministers of Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) member states — Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia — discussed expansion of mutual trade between the EEU member countries.

In his speech at the meeting, Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev said that the EEU had been an effective integration association for more than two years now, but these years were not easy for the member countries. Due to the instability of global financial and commodity markets, the GDP of the EEU declined by 0.7% and the Union’s mutual trade turnover declined by 11%, the official website of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan reported.

Sagintayev said that it is now important to increase the EEU trade by removing barriers and restrictions.

Another element of strengthening cooperation in the EEU is the creation of the best conditions for manufacturers and businesses of its member states, which was stated by the President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev in his address to the heads of the EEU member countries.

The Kazakh prime minister said that “we are interested in a joint solution of a set of issues arising in the field of customs clearance”. With reference to the estimates of the customs services, Sagintayev said that “possible risks of insufficient level of customs administration are noted in the case of the flow of Chinese goods by transit to the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic. This is evidenced, inter alia, by the growth of transit traffic from China by road in 2016 by 9.5 times.”

At the same time, Sagintayev reaffirmed Kazakhstan’s intention to support Kyrgyzstan in adapting to the conditions of the EEU. In his words, in December the two countries signed the Agreement and the Protocol on the allocation of appropriate assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as an Agreement on the early provision of a unified railway tariff for the transport of Kyrgyz goods through Kazakhstan, which came into force in January this year.

According to experts, early application of the provisions of the Agreement will allow Kyrgyz shippers to save about 60 million US dollars, the Kazakh prime minister said, adding that the list of goods allowed to move from Kyrgyzstan to Russia through Kazakhstan has been expanded from January 1 this year.

Sergey Kwan

TCA