GRIGORY RAPOTA: WE HAVE A DE FACTO FREE TRADE REGIMEN

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An interview with EAEC Secretary General Grigory Rapota

The Euro-Asian Economic Community, founded almost six years ago, comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Trade between the member states has been growing at 20-25% per year for the past three years. A summit is taking place in Sochi this week.


An interview with Grigory Rapota, secretary general of the Euro-Asian Economic Community (EAEC).

Question: The EAEC has been in existence for almost six years. Which of its achievements might be considered most important for the member states?

Grigory Rapota: The main result is that trade between EAEC member states has been growing at 20-25% per year for the past three years. This growth rate become possible largely due to a number of agreements that simplify trade turnover. We have a de facto free trade regimen, based on bilateral agreements between all EAEC member states. There are some other useful agreements in effect – such as import duty exemptions, taking currency across borders, regulating labor migration. We are now working on the legislative basis for a Customs Union; by the end of this year, all sides should complete work on its legal aspects. I think these will be discussed at the summit, together with other issues.

Question: Is there any prospect of the EAEC expanding in the foreseeable future?

Grigory Rapota: When the EAEC was established, it had five member states. Uzbekistan has joined the EAEC this year. The EAEC has merged with the Central Asian Cooperation Organization. If any other country wishes to join our economic community, all sides will consider the matter. But we do have a strict rule: new members must comply with all existing agreements.

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