April 28, 2014 - 17:24 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council will hold a summit meeting in Minsk on April 29.
The presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will discuss the main cooperation fields within the Customs Union and Common Economic Space and will review the results of efforts by the three governments to prepare a draft treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union, which is expected to be signed in late May, 2014.
The Eurasian Economic Union will begin functioning on January 1, 2015.
The summit will also examine further expansion of the Eurasian economic integration process to take in more countries, including Armenia and Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space.
Armenia’s accession deal is expected to be inked in May.
“The deal on Armenia’s accession to the Russia-led Customs Union will be signed upon completion of talks for preservation of customs duties for a number of imported goods,” then acting economy minister Vahram Avanesyan told journalists on April 18
Armenia implemented 70% of the activities stipulated by the Customs Union accession roadmap, a presidential statement said in late March.
According to the address of Armenian leader Serzh Sargsyan to participants of the Armenia-CU conference, close cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission and relevant structures in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan promoted progress in Armenia’s accession activities, to be followed by signing of an international legal deal.
In his address, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev welcomed the already perceptible success that the Customs Union and Unified Economic Space members achieved in their work. He also hailed Armenia’s progress in implementation of the CU accession roadmap, according to Armenia Today.
He further noted a stable global tendency for regional integration projects to facilitate economic growth and secure investments, expressing hope for the integration to strengthen Armenian-Russian ties.
At the conference, then Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan outlined challenges of Armenia’s CU accession.
“Armenia is a member of the World Trade Organization, with customs fees instituted in the WTO space thrice as low as those in the CU area. This means that the CU accession will negatively affect business entities importing goods from third countries. On the other hand, local manufacturers might benefit from the step, in having their rights protected and investments boosted.”
As he further noted, the expected increase in customs fees might force Armenia to give preference to services and products offered by the CU states, with the difficulties that the importers of goods from third countries could face to be discussed.
According to Sargsyan, by joining WTO, Armenia assumed certain obligations which should be revised in the light of its CU accession and change in customs fees, with the negotiations to be launched on the subject.
“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 on March 1.
As Kocharyan told a news conference, once the text of the deal is coordinated with the CU member states, it will be submitted for parliamentary ratification.
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.