Russian, Belarus presidents discuss Customs Union

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko discussed plans for a Customs Union between the two countries and Kazakhstan during a telephone conversation on Monday, the Kremlin said.

"The heads of the states briefly exchanged opinions on preparations for a high-level meeting within the next few days. In particular, they agreed to continue talks on the formation of the Customs Union," the Kremlin's press service said.

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on the creation of the Customs Code in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on November 27, 2009.

The Customs Union formally came into existence on January 1, but is unable to start working fully until disputes are resolved and the customs code comes into effect.

The disputed issues between the countries include the import of foreign cars and aircraft into the Union's customs territory and export duties on Russian oil and petroleum products to Belarus.

Moscow and Minsk faced off at the start of the year over tariffs on imports of Russian oil, which Belarus said should be completely duty-free in the union.

President Medvedev signed a federal law last week, ratifying the Customs Code and Kazakhstan's lower house of parliament ratified it on the same day.

MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti)


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