Kyrgyzstan intends to join the post-Soviet customs bloc of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, the Kyrgyz ambassador to Kazakhstan said on Tuesday, reported RIA Novosti.
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan agreed in early June to form a customs bloc and seek joint accession to the World Trade Organization. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, however, later said that the most realistic option was for Russia to join the WTO separately, but to agree on common positions with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
"We are currently working on this issue. We must necessarily join the Customs Union and are making preparations for that," Dzhanysh Rustembekov said, adding that this would not be an easy process for the Central Asian republic.
"It will be necessary to harmonize customs tariffs and, considering that Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus are only joining the WTO while we have already joined it, this will not be simple," he said.
The Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is expected to come into effect from January 1, 2010, when the three former Soviet republics introduce unified customs tariffs. From July 1, 2010, a unified Customs Code will be introduced and by mid-2011 all necessary procedures for the creation of a uniform customs territory are expected to have been completed.