MOSCOW, RUSSIA (BNO NEWS) - Russia's Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina on Thursday announced that Russia will cancel oil export duties for Belarus beginning on January 1, 2011.
According to RIA Novosti, Russia will cancel Belarus' oil duties if the former Soviet state ratifies all agreements to create a Unified Economic Space.
"We are cancelling all oil duties in mutual trade. We will supply oil duty-free to Belarus, while duties on oil products will be charged on external borders and transferred to the Russian budget," said Nabiullina.
The decision to cancel the oil duties will save Belarus approximately million. Russia on Tuesday announced that it will join the World Trade Organization (WTO) as part of a Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
"We will join the WTO separately, but as part of the Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Everyone should at last understand this. There can be many unions but we've got only one WTO," Medvedev said.
The Customs Union originated in June 2009 as the Prime Ministers of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan decided to join the WTO as a single customs territory. However, the initiative failed after the three countries had different degrees of readiness for membership.