Customs Union ratification not on agenda of Belarusian legislature`s final meeting

On June 30, the Belarusian National Assembly rises for the summer recess.

The ratification bill for the Code of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia was not added to the agenda of the wrap-up plenary meeting held by the House of Representatives on Wednesday to conclude its current session, BelaPAN reports.

The approved agenda did not feature the bill. But it included an appeal to the head of state to call a special session of the House of Representatives, the fifth one.

On June 30, the Belarusian National Assembly rises for the summer recess.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Slepnev said at a news conference in Moscow earlier in the day that the Kremlin expected the Belarusian legislature to pass the ratification bill for the Code on Wednesday.

“As far as I know, its ratification by Belarus will be debated today,” RIA Novosti quoted Mr. Slepnev as saying.

He said that Kazakhstan and Russia had already ratified the Code together with a protocol of amendments to it. “The situation with Belarus is, of course, different,” he said.

Mr. Slepnev suggested that the situation would “clear up” before July 5 when the Interstate Council of the Eurasian Economic Community and the heads of state of the Customs Union will hold separate meetings in Kazakhstan’s Astana.

On May 28, Kazakhstan and Russia agreed to put the Union into full-fledged operation on July 1 on a bilateral basis without Belarus. Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhey Sidorski boycotted the talks in St. Petersburg in protest against Russia’s export duty on crude oil supplied to the country.

The ratification bill was added to the lower chamber`s spring session agenda in the first half of June.

The Russian parliament ratified the Customs Union`s Code in late May and the Kazakh legislature did so on June 10.

While speaking at a news conference in Minsk on June 11, Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Surikov warned that customs controls at the Belarusian-Russian border would be tightened if Minsk failed to join the Customs Union. The Customs Union border would run along the external borders of Russia and Kazakhstan “with all ensuring consequences,” the ambassador warned.

The Russian authorities announced on Wednesday that the Federal Customs Service and the country`s state consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor would operate in accordance with new rules and increase controls at the Customs Union border starting July 1.