Customs Union on verge of expansion

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 11 / Trend /

Trend commentator Elena Kosolapova

After the March presidential elections in Russia, some experts predicted the intensification of negotiations on extending the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, connecting it with Vladimir Putin's return to the presidential post. One can say as of the first five months since the day of his inauguration, that these predictions have come true.

During this period, Russia launched wide propaganda on the Customs Union within the organisation and towards potential new members. Putin himself during this period held a number of meetings with colleagues on this economic unification, as well as with the leaders of neighbouring countries. Discussing the Customs Union's activity is on the agenda of the negotiations.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is not behind his Russian counterpart. Certainly, Kazakhstan's political and economic influence in the world is not so great compared to Russia, but this Central Asian country's viewpoint is rather significant in the region. Therefore, President Nazarbayev actively urges the neighbours to join the Customs Union which can rightly be considered as his brainchild (Nazarbayev proposed the idea of integration association, similar with customs union, a few years before its establishment).

Belarusian Presidential Alexander Lukashenko also voiced positive comments on the Customs Union and its prospects. Moreover, Belarus is a good example of the Customs Union's positive impact on the country's trade balance. While significantly losing its partners in the Customs Union in terms of the economy, Belarus has gained much benefit from joining the organisation.Belarus increased its export to Russia from $6.719 billion in 2009 to $14.509 billion in 2013. Export to Kazakhstan rose from $313.4 million to $673.9 million in this period.

Therefore, the Customs Union countries are actively working to expand the integration association. Of course, Russia and other members of the organisation are interested in expanding the borders of the Customs Union in the long term and the Eurasian Union in the future at least up to the limits of the former Soviet Union. However, emphasis is primarily focused on Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the near future.

There is every reason to believe that Kyrgyzstan will be the next member of the Customs Union. Bishkek, as well as Russia and Kazakhstan show interest in Kyrgyzstan's accession to the Customs Union.

President Bishkek has repeatedly stated his country's desire to join the organisation. Moreover, Tajikistan has recently voiced its desire to join the Customs Union. Its joining the organisation will only be possible if there is a common border which will appear only after Kyrgyzstan joins. Therefore, there is reason to believe that concessions will be made to Kyrgyzstan and the process of its joining the organisation will be accelerated.

The deteriorating relations between Bishkek and Minsk in connection with the case of Kyrgyz ex-President Bakiyev complicate this issue. However, Belarus's voice in this issue is unlikely to be decisive.

Regarding the prospects of Tajikistan's joining the Customs Union, it is necessary to take into account that Russia and Kazakhstan are major economic partners for Tajikistan. Around 20 and 13.6 per cent respectively of the total volume of foreign trade of the Republic fell to them in January-August 2012. Moreover, joining the Customs Union will allow Tajikistan to receive a significant discount on energy resources imported from Russia and Kazakhstan and save up to $350 million per year on imports of petroleum based fuels.

Tajikistan's accession to the Customs Union will also simplify the conditions for the registration of Tajik migrants in Russia. Thus, Tajikistan's economic benefits from joining the Customs Union are obvious. However Tajikistan will become a burden for Kazakhstan and especially Russia from the economic point of view due to the weakness of its economy, but the political interests of the parties play their role in the region.

Ukraine is the most desirable, yet at the same time the least probable candidate for accession to the Customs Union. Ukraine's accession would be very beneficial for Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus because of Ukraine's economy, its geographical location, as well as established economic ties. Russia is ready to pay for such a union and Gazprom promises to reduce the price of imported gas by the Ukraine twice if it joins the Customs Union.

However, despite the economic preferences offered by Russia, Ukraine is looking toward Europe. Joining the Customs Union will force Kiev to abandon old plans to join the European Union, but the Ukrainian political elite are not ready yet.

One must await the actions of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus to improve the economic attractiveness of their integration association. Only in this case, the Customs Union will be able to hope for joining strong and economically prosperous countries.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Kyrgyzstan administers 13,249 vaccines over past day
Kyrgyzstan administers 13,249 vaccines over past day
Exports of Iran to Kyrgyzstan booming
Exports of Iran to Kyrgyzstan booming
Turkey expresses interest in expanding activities of Turkish companies in Kyrgyzstan
Turkey expresses interest in expanding activities of Turkish companies in Kyrgyzstan
Loading Bars
Syria executes 24 people over deadly forest fires
Azerbaijan climbs to 26th place in UEFA coefficients table
Russia, China are friends in each other’s interests, not against others — Putin
Chronicles of Victory: First VP Mehriban Aliyeva interviewed by Trend News Agency on October 22, 2020
Chronicles of Victory: October 22, 2020
French PM pledges cash to help drivers cope with rising energy prices
Qarabag FC wins another victory within Conference League
Putin makes statement on Karabakh
Uzbek Central Bank: Food prices have risen by 14.4%
Georgian Parliament Speaker to meet Moldovan counterpart in Greece
Brussels' utopian green energy fantasies spark energy crisis in Europe — Hungarian PM
EU prioritizes digital sector development in Azerbaijan
Russia planning several new business visits to Azerbaijan by year-end - official
Russian company to implement micro-mobile transport project in Baku
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva makes Instagram post on visit to Zangilan (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan Investment Holding, Kazakhstan National Welfare Fund sign memorandum of co-op
SOFAZ’s revenues from profitable oil and gas sale up
Executive Power of Azerbaijan’s Tovuz district opens tender for road repairs
Kazakhstan, Russia discuss gas supply issues
Russian company may set up 'smart' bus stops in Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijan publishes updated list of servicemen martyred during second Karabakh war
IBF VP talks growing interest of investors in Azerbaijan's liberated lands (VIDEO)
SOFAZ sees increase in budget revenues
Uzbekistan's GDP growth in 9M2021 sparks promising forecast
Azerbaijan developing preliminary conceptual design of railway route to liberated Kalbajar (PHOTO)
Goldman Sachs, Freshfields working on possible Porsche IPO
Kazakhstan to liquidate emergency wells in several regions
Large-amount loans issued in Iran's services sector
Azerbaijan, Russia talk cooperation opportunities in insurance sector
Azerbaijan records surplus in state budget
Azerbaijan's Sumgayit Technologies Park, Alat FEZ sign MoU on strategic co-op
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Head of EU delegation talks financial aid to Azerbaijan, following end of Karabakh war
U.S. weekly jobless claims drop to 19-month low
Uzbek Central Bank publishes data on country's gold, currency reserves
Trade turnover between Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan grows sharply
FIMI buys Ashot Ashkelon stake from Elbit Systems for $88m
Azerbaijan confirms 2,005 more COVID-19 cases, 1,011 recoveries
Uzbek Central Bank reveals data on total liabilities of banks
Iran sees decrease in load/unload operations in Astara port
Kremlin hopes for EU certification of Russia's vaccine
Bahar Azadi gold coin price begins to rise in Iran
India enters 100-crore vaccine club to fight Covid, PM Modi says nation scripts history
Hungarian University Forum and alumni meeting in Baku
Central Bank of Iran shares data on loans issued for trade sector
Turkmenistan doubles greenhouse tomato exports to Russia
Turkey's position on opening Zangezur corridor - unchanged – President Erdogan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 21
Georgia shares data on its top goods exported to Russia
Iran sees increase of cargo loading/unloading at its Charak port
Turkish President to attend opening of Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli International Airport
India offered humanitarian assistance to Afghans, Taliban say after 2nd meeting
'Turkic World' project aims to meet information demand - Turkish official
South Pars field revenues account for over half of Iran's state budget
Turkmenistan looks to launch new project jointly with UNDP, WB
Central Bank of Iran announces amount of loans issued in housing, construction sector
Turkmenistan interested in political stability, security in Afghanistan – Deputy FM
Iran’s CBI reveals amount of loans issued for industrial and mining sectors
India achieves the major milestone of ‘one billion’ vaccinations
Volume of loaded/unloaded cargo in Iran’s Fereidoonkenar port down
Ruling parties of Azerbaijan, Turkey to hold meeting
Iran records increase in exports to Uzbekistan
Iranian president to visit Ardabil Province on border with Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan reveals total assets for banks with/without state share
Every martyr will live forever in hearts of Azerbaijani people - President Ilham Aliyev
SOCAR discloses oil transportation volume via Baku-Supsa
Our people did not bow down during occupation, did not forget about their native lands - Azerbaijani president
Georgia-Russia trade turnover increases in 9M2021
Azerbaijan's military units in Kalbajar, Lachin undergo inspection amid coming winter (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 21
SOCAR’s capital investment plan fulfilled by over 63%
SOCAR reveals volume of electricity production, consumption
Iranian currency rates for October 21
Tesla's German plant hits snag as public consultation repeated
Iranian startup companies receive more loans from local banks
Activities in Iran’s Genaveh port increase
Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23
Pfizer vaccine very effective against Delta variant in adolescents in Israel
Iranians detained in Azerbaijan due to falsified of customs documents sent back to Iran
Exports of Iran to Tajikistan soar
Iran begins new round of power plant overhaul operations
Zangilan will become transport and logistical center of our country - President Aliyev
SOCAR fulfills oil refining plan by over 103%
Gas could lose market share to coal this winter
Russia sees record high of 36,339 daily COVID-19 cases, crisis center says
Does Europe have enough gas stocks to get through winter?
Azerbaijan considering proposals for building new modern gas-turbine power plant
Azerbaijan announces time of commissioning floating solar power plant
Azerbaijan to develop atlas of renewable energy potential
Kazakhstan eyes attracting investments in processing industry
Turkey shares data on number of cars transshipped via local ports in 9M2021
Iran to use alternative fuel for power plants
Iran shares data on grain imports from Russia
Azerbaijan updates on renewable energy projects with ACWA Power, Masdar
Iran looking to expand export to neighboring countries - President Raisi
Amount of loans issued by Iranian banks continue to grow
Iran provides several loans in agricultural sector
Oil mixed, but solid U.S. demand underpins sentiment
1 dead, 33 injured in restaurant explosion in northeast China
Iran, Kazakhstan urged to set out a new framework for bilateral ties
All news