Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus must form customs union by March

URALSK, October 3 (RIA Novosti) - A customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus must be formed by March 2007, Kazakhstan's president said Tuesday.

Leaders of the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec) signed documents on the establishment of a customs union, which envisions no duties or taxes for imports or exports on the organization's territory, during an informal summit in Sochi, in southern Russia, on August 15-17.

"We will sign part of the documents this year needed to set up the customs union in order to form a trilateral union by March," Nursultan Nazarbayev told a news conference on the sidelines of the third Russian-Kazakh regional forum visited by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Eurasec comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Belarus and Uzbekistan.

Initially, only three Eurasec members - Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus - will join the customs union, as they have already harmonized most of the necessary documents.

Kazakhstan presides over the Commonwealth of Independent States - a loose union of former Soviet republics - this year, and the country's leader said Kazakhstan would propose at a CIS summit in Minsk October 17 that the structure and charter of the CIS be modified for heads of state to focus on vital issues, such as a migration policy.