Russia, Belarus, Kazakh agree to create common economic space

Vinay Shukla

Moscow, Dec 9 (PTI) Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan today agreed to create a fully fledged common economic space by 2012 after the three nations set up a customs union this year.

The three nations signed 17 joint documents to create a common economic space and invited other former Soviet republics to join the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC).

"At their summit Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have taken the decision to create their Customs Union and Common Economic Space," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced after the Kremlin summit of the EurAsEC Inter-state Council.

"We have laid the foundation of real, true integration within the Customs Union and EurAsEC," Medvedev said at the joint press conference with his Belarus and Kazakh counterparts.

He said that this opens the opportunities for the free flow of capital, services, ideas and single economic policy just like in the European Union.

"This absolutely a different quality of life. The significance of such integration became especially obvious at the time of financial-economic crisis, when EU could ensure support to its member nations and prop the rate of common currency," Medvedev said giving the example of the European Union and urged other members to carry out economic and financial reforms to join the EurAsEC.

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenka said twenty years after the demise of the USSR, the three former Soviet countries with a total population of 170 million through economic, political and defence integration are moving towards a Eurasian Union, which will become a powerful player on the global scene.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that the common economic space will give the business in the three countries to learn how to compete as it awaits them when Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will eventually join World Trade Organisation.

EurAsEC was set up in 2003 by six former Soviet republics -Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, for their integration along a fast or slow track according to their readiness.

Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia have adopted a fast track by creating a Customs Union and Common Economic Space from January 1, 2011.

Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine have the observer status in the EurAsEC.


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