Foreign Policy Blogs

Dateline, Astana: EurAsEC meeting minutes

AstanaThe Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), met today in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.  They met in order to analyze their work, celebrate successes, and most of all, to formulate policy for 2008.

The meeting was opened by Russia's Prime Minister, Mikhail Fradkov, who gave the opening remarks.  Mr. Fradkov suggested that there were many integration processes left unresolved.  He also delivered an overview on EurAsEC progress.

Prime Minister FradkovStatistics
Aggregate GDP of EurAsEC reached USD 1200 billion in 2006; trade turnover surged over 30% to USD 36.3 billion.

Customs Union
Both an "unnamed source in the Russian delegation" said privately–and Kazakhstan's Prime Minister, Karim Masimov, publicly–that a main priority of the meeting was to develop a basis for common customs union law.  The customs union envisions no duties or taxes for export-import between the states.  Only Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan have sufficiently coordinated their documents to join the EuraSec customs union.

Common customs is required for WTO accession.  Russia has been working on full accession to the WTO since 1993; Kazakhstan since 1996.

Energy paranoia, maybe justified
Some reports suggest that an energy coordination mechanism was proposed; however, the quotes concerning energy coordination were prompted from a Question at a press briefing, and were not, at least publicly, a main agenda item.  Within a common customs union, there can be No Doubt that further energy coordination will arise as a strategic/economic issue. 

Attendance by the Prime Minister(s) of the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Mr. Akil Akilov of Tajikistan and Mr. Amzabek Atambaev of  Kyrgyzstan.  Deputy Prime Ministers represented Belarus and Uzbekistan.  Observer states include Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine.  The next meeting of this very important collective security organization will be held in Moscow in October, 2007.