Moscow, Dec 9 (EFE).- The presidents of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan on Friday said they wanted to step up efforts to remove trade barriers in the Eurasian Economic Union and to guarantee the free transit of goods among member states.
“I believe that, in principle, we should not have barriers in mutual trade, this is the essence of our union,” stressed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at a summit of the EEU (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.
Lukashenko said it would solve the problem of supplying the national markets with essential imports and the coordination of exports of strategic importance, mainly food.
“But today the reality is that we continue to struggle with the consequences of decisions made at the national level,” he complained.
“Either we can’t export timber or we don’t allow international road carriers through while the search for mutually acceptable solutions takes too long,” he said.
Lukashenko pointed out the need to ensure the implementation of joint projects to create modern and future industries as soon as possible, in order to counter the Western sanctions on Russia and Belarus.
He said that decisions made within the framework of the EEU “have significantly reduced the negative effect of the pressure of sanctions” and have supported important sectors of the economy, but the union “must not stop given the fundamental changes in the world.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed with his Belarusian counterpart.
“We have to work more effectively to remove barriers. That is true. They interfere with free trade among our countries and we have to work more vigorously,” he stressed.
“The five states are closely cooperating in the field of transport and logistics, and the volume of mutual transport of cargo is growing, which was helped by the increase in the capacity of border crossings among our countries. Although of course there is still work to do,” he said.
The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, also stressed that the EEU countries must prevent restrictions on the transit of goods through the territory of the union.
“I think it would be necessary to remove all cases of movement restriction, quotas and retention of Kazakh and non-Kazakh goods transiting through our common customs territory,” he stressed.
“Such restrictions are inconsistent with the objectives and the spirit of economic cooperation within the UEE,” he said. EFE