Azerbaijan, Baku, October 11/ Trend E. Ismayilov /
If Azerbaijan joins the Eurasian Customs Union, it will most likely be jointly with Turkey, deputy chairman of the Inter-Commission Working Group on International Cooperation and Public Diplomacy of the Public Chamber of Russia, Sergei Markov told journalists in Baku on Thursday.
He said the focus of the Azerbaijani economy in energy does not require its participation in the Customs Union. However according to Markov, it would be extremely beneficial for Turkey with its strong manufacturing economy including development of light industry, agriculture and other sectors, to participate in this kind of the Customs Union.
"It seems to me that if Azerbaijan joins the Customs Union, that it is jointly with Turkey and this will not happen soon because of the nature of the Azerbaijani economy," Markov said.
According to him, Azerbaijan's interest in joining the Customs Union will manifest itself later.
Russia will actively develop the Eurasian Customs Union project as it is beneficial for both Russia and the economies of other countries. Markov in particular named the two main causes of profitability of the Customs Union. First, the large markets are developing rapidly and are more resistant to the global economic crisis and second, the development of high-tech production requires large markets which are more attractive for investment.
"Undoubtedly we will advertise, recruit and offer entry into the Customs Union. However, we will not push anyone into this alliance ," Markov said.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov stressed Uzbekistan's reluctance to join the Customs Union and other international associations in late 2011, as it has not been ruled out that they will go beyond economic interests and become political.
The Eurasian customs union is a form of trade and economic integration of the Republic of Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation which ensures a single customs territory.
Customs duties and restrictions of economic nature are not used in the mutual trade of goods with the exception of special protective, antidumping and countervailing measures within this territory. The member countries of the customs union apply a unified customs tariff and other common measures to regulate trade in goods with third countries.
The Customs Union of the three countries began operating in January 2012. Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Syria, Vietnam, New Zealand have expressed a desire on making accession to the Customs Union.
Azerbaijan, along with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, did not join the new Treaty on the Free Trade Area, signed on October 18, 2011 by the heads of governments of eight Commonwealth member-states.