Export duties on goods supplied within Customs Union may be abolished earlier than January 1, 2012, Russian vice premier says

Export duties on goods supplied within the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia may be abolished earlier than the scheduled date of January 1, 2012 if the necessary agreements on a common economic zone are put into effect ahead of schedule, Aleksei Kudrin, Russia’s deputy prime minister/finance minister, told reporters on Tuesday, as quoted by BelaPAN.

According to Mr. Kudrin, export duties will continue to be applied within the Customs Union until the common economic zone is established. The abolition of the duties will depend on how soon all agreements are signed and come into force, he noted. “Now I am not prepared to talk about a specific date because the likelihood of the agreements being signed earlier requires additional estimation,” he said.

The Customs Code of the Customs Union took effect on July 6, but the member countries have failed to reach an agreement on a number of export duties in mutual trade. In particular, Belarus and Russia remain in disagreement over the application by Russia of export duties on crude oil and petroleum products supplied to Belarus. Minsk believes that the duties should be abolished for Belarus as soon as the country signs and ratifies the entire package of agreements on the establishment of the common economic zone, whereas Russia and Kazakhstan insist that this should be done only after the package is signed and ratified by all member countries.