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Eurasian Economic Union Comes Into Being

by Tatiana Smolenska, Tax-, Moscow

07 January 2015

The Eurasian Economic Union was established from the start of 2015, establishing a bloc of ex-Soviet states that will attempt to replicate the structure of the European Union, with an underlying objective of eventually expanding the Eurasian Customs Union set up in 2010.

Joining the existing members of the Customs Union, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, in the new Economic Union are Armenia, which acceded on January 2, and Kyrgyzstan, which will formally join the bloc from the start of May, but which is in effect now a party to the Economic Union.

The Customs Union, which was established in 2010, already created a single market for goods and services among members, with the removal of internal tariffs and a common external tariffs on goods imported from outside the Customs Union.

Armenia's Ministry of Economy has introduced new restrictions on commodity imports, and the nation will gradually reduce its import tariffs into line with the arrangements under the Customs Union by 2022.

Meanwhile, Belarus recently slashed its duties on oil and oil products that it exports outside the Customs Union, to align its rates with Russia's. The announcement follows a dispute between Russia and Belarus on Belarus's retention of oil export duties. Belarus was previously able to import oil from Russia duty-free in return for handing over to Russia a proportion of its export duty revenue. Russia had reduced its export duty on oil exports, prompting Belarus to complain that the arrangement was no longer in its interest. Russia eventually agreed that Belarus could keep 100 percent of the export duty revenue during 2015.

With the announcement, Belarus has reduced its export duty on diesel fuel from USD180.30 per ton to USD81.60, and on gasoline from USD249.70 to USD144.60 (for straight-run gasoline) and USD132.70 (for commercial gasoline), according to reports from BelTA, the Belarusian state news agency.

TAGS: Russia | tax | Kyrgyzstan | export duty | tariffs | trade treaty | Armenia | agreements | Belarus | Kazakhstan | tax reform | trade | Economy

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