Russia - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky and Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Masimov make a brief statement to the press following negotiations

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.

I want to start by thanking the prime ministers of Kazakhstan and Belarus for the substantive work we did day.

That being said, we have not agreed upon the entire agenda due to some sensitive areas in our respective economies.

We have agreed to move forward with the process of ratifying the Customs Code. However, in order to coordinate our positions on these sensitive economic areas - the automotive and aircraft manufacturing industries, goods our citizens bring into our countries for personal use, and export duties - we will resume consultations on these problems quite soon. We have agreed that expert consultations will begin within two weeks.

Sergei Sidorsky: I support Mr Putin in all he has said. We have acknowledged these sensitive areas in the economies of the Customs Union countries. The situation demands further coordination so that in two weeks our experts can report back that they've bridged the gaps between our respective positions.

Unfortunately, we were unable to achieve this during today's negotiations.

Karim Masimov: I also agree with Mr Putin and Mr Sergei Sidorsky that we need further negotiations on establishing the Customs Union, as these are economically sensitive issues. So we have agreed that our teams of experts will continue to negotiate, after which we will hold another meeting.

Vladimir Putin: Let me be clear. The amount of goods that individuals can bring into Kazakhstan, for example, is a sensitive issue.

The automobile industry is very important to us because any changes in the policy we've been pursuing over the past few years could harm the industry's prospects, especially now, during an economic downturn, when we are providing support to the industry. The same goes for the aircraft manufacturing industry.

Our Belarusian colleagues have their own areas of special concern. I mentioned export duties, but that is not the only one. Our Belarusian colleagues have other concerns. These are serious matters, and the situation in certain economic sectors of our countries depends on the decisions we make. This is why we must not rush the process. We will continue our work.


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