Armenia to be involved in new CU Customs Code development

Armenia to be involved in new CU Customs Code development

PanARMENIAN.Net - Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan met with the Minister for Customs Cooperation at the Eurasian Economic Commission Vladimir Goshin, governmental press service reported.

At the March 13 meeting, the parties focused on customs cooperation and customs legislation in the framework of Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union.

Goshin briefed the official on the draft of the Customs Code to take effect next year. The process is coordinated by deputy ministers of the three Customs Union member states, with Armenian delegation to be involved in the work. The next meeting of the working group is due March 17 in Moscow.

Sargsyan met the Member of the Board, the Minister of Economic and Financial Policies of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Timur Suleymanov March 12.

The meeting focused on the activities of the working group for implementation of the Customs Union accession roadmap.

The parties exchanged views on services, investments, tax and customs policies, customs duties and intellectual property, summarizing results of activities implemented and expressing readiness to continue consultations. Discussions in the working group format will be finalized in late March.

Armenia may join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan as soon as in 2014, the chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Viktor Khristenko said.

"I believe, legal documents for Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union will be drafted this year,” Khristenko said in early March.

According to Khristenko, at the March 5 summit of Eurasian Economic Commission, reports were submitted to presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on Armenia progress in the CU accession roadmap implementation.

Khristenko expressed optimism over Armenia's fast-paced implementation of the 260-step roadmap, pledging Russia's further support to Yerevan in a number of issues, including the Karabakh conflict settlement.

"Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are ready to prepare a deal for Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union," Russian leader Vladimir Putin said earlier.

As Putin noted at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council session, “Armenia has adopted and is successfully implementing the plan of actions for adaptation to the norms of the Customs Union and Unified Economic Space, so we believe it possible to ready the accession deal.”

Armenia will complete all steps envisaged in the Customs Union accession road map in mid-April, will the CU accession deal currently in the works, Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan said.

As Kocharyan told the March 1 news conference, once the text of the deal is coordinated with the CU member states, it will be submitted for parliamentary ratification.

Deputy Economy Minister Karine Minasyan in turn, noted that Armenia will soon start talks with the CU member states to retain current customs duties for goods imported from non-CU countries. She also confirmed that the issues related to the absence of common borers with the economic territory of the CU will be settled.

Armenia completed technical talks on a ‘deep and comprehensive free-trade agreement' (DCFTA) with the EU in July 2013 and it was set to be signed at a summit with the EU in late November. In addition to a free-trade deal, Armenia has been working towards the signing of an association agreement with the EU, a framework agreement on co-operation that is seen as a first step towards political integration with the EU.

During a Sept 3 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian leader Serzh Sargsyan said Armenia is ready to join Customs Union, with further plans to be involved in formation of the Eurasian Economic Union. Mr. Putin supported the initiative, vowing procedural assistance to Armenia.

A draft resolution on Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union and unified economic zone was approved at the Minsk-hosted Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting Dec 24. On Jan 23, Armenian government has approved the list of measures for joining the Customs Union.

“Armenia implemented almost half of the activities envisaged by the Customs Union accession roadmap,” Prime Minister Sargsyan said earlier.

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