No progress in talks with Russia on oil export duty, deputy prime minister says

Minsk and Moscow have failed so far to make any progress in their talks on Russia's export duty on crude oil and petroleum products supplied to Belarus, Andrey Kabyakow, Belarus' deputy prime minister, told reporters on the sidelines of an international economic forum in St.Petersburg on June 17, BelaPAN reports.

Mr. Kabyakow announced that the issue would not be under discussion at a meeting of the Customs Union Commission in St.Petersburg on June 18, Russia's RIA Novosti said.

Belarus insists that the duty, which has led to a considerable increase in the price of crude for the country's oil refineries, should be abolished when the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia is scheduled to be launched on July 1. However, Moscow has refused to fulfill the demand, saying that the duty could be scrapped when the three countries establish a common economic space.

The dispute prompted Kazakhstan and Russia to announce in May that they would launch the union on a bilateral basis without Belarus.