Union that will Ben­e­fit All

Be­larus, Rus­sia and Kaza­khstan are cre­at­ing a new eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal cen­ter of power in Eura­sia

Economy of Belarus - - INTEGRATION - Vladislav SARYCHEV, Econ­omy of Be­larus Mag­a­zine

Long-term Part­ner­ship

Alexan­der Lukashenko, Dmitry Medvedev and Nur­sul­tan Nazarbayev signed the Dec­la­ra­tion on the Eurasian Eco­nomic In­te­gra­tion. The doc­u­ment states that in­te­gra­tion chimes in with national in­ter­ests of the three coun­tries. The doc­u­ment de­clares that in­te­gra­tion will help im­prove the well-be­ing and the qual­ity of life of peo­ple and pro­mote sus­tain­able so­cioe­co­nomic growth. The Sin­gle Eco­nomic Space will be­come oper­a­tional in Jan­uary 2012 to se­cure the free move­ment of goods, ser­vices, cap­i­tal and la­bor.

It is note­wor­thy that Be­larus and Kaza­khstan are in­ter­ested in the Sin­gle Eco­nomic Space mostly for eco­nomic rea­sons, while Rus­sia pur­sues also some po­lit­i­cal ends. Rus­sia wants to re­in­force its im­age as the ma­jor in­te­gra­tion force on the post-so­viet space.

Plenty of ideas emerged on the post-so­viet space since the USSR col­lapsed. How­ever, ev­ery­one was say­ing that noth­ing will hap­pen un­til Rus­sia moves from state­ments and dec­la­ra­tions about in­te­gra­tion to prac­ti­cal ac­tion, Alexan­der Lukashenko said em­pha­siz­ing Rus­sia’s role in the es­tab­lish­ment of the SES.

Af­ter the So­viet Union col­lapsed, the re­publics of the former world power gained in­de­pen­dence and went their own ways. How­ever, they soon re­al­ized that the dis­rup­tion of links be­tween them was more painful than they had ex­pected. Their economies were once part of a sin­gle and in­te­gral sys­tem. There­fore, the dis­in­te­gra­tion brought about nu­mer­ous po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic is­sues. Against this back­drop, var­i­ous in­te­gra­tion projects started to emerge on the post-so­viet space. The Cus­toms Union of Be­larus, Rus­sia and Kaza­khstan has been mak­ing much progress re­cently. At the Moscow meet­ing on 18 Novem­ber, the pres­i­dents of the Troika passed a truly his­toric de­ci­sion and de­clared the tran­si­tion to the next stage of in­te­gra­tion – the es­tab­lish­ment of the Sin­gle Eco­nomic Space (SES) and in the fu­ture the Eurasian Eco­nomic Union. This event was sym­bolic as it took place in the runup to the 20th an­niver­sary of Belavezha Ac­cords that for­mal­ized the col­lapse of the USSR.

The heads of state as­sured that in­te­gra­tion has noth­ing to do with the rein­car­na­tion of the So­viet Union that was un­der­pinned by the com­mand and ad­min­is­tra­tion sys­tem, govern­ment own­er­ship of means of pro­duc­tion and com­mu­nist ide­ol­ogy.

These are some odd phan­tom fears of our op­po­si­tion or en­e­mies who do not want to see in­te­gra­tion on this ter­ri­tory, Pres­i­dent of Kaza­khstan Nur­sul­tan Nazarbayev un­der­lined.

Dmitry Medvedev ruled out dom­i­na­tion of any coun­try over the other ones in the Sin­gle Eco­nomic Space and the Eurasian Union.

As viewed to­day, this will be a union of sov­er­eign states with supra­na­tional bod­ies, Alexan­der Lukashenko said.

In line with the Dec­la­ra­tion, the Sin­gle Eco­nomic Space is com­mit­ted to ob­serv­ing the in­ter­na­tional law, which in­cludes re­spect for sovereignty and equal­ity of the states, ba­sic rights and free­doms of peo­ple, rule of law and mar­ket econ­omy.

By 2015, the par­ties in­tend to cod­ify in­ter­na­tional treaties that make up the le­gal frame­work of the Cus­toms Union and the SES, and will cre­ate the ba­sis for the Eurasian Union. This in­cludes bal­anced macroe­co­nomic and fis­cal pol­icy, com­pe­ti­tion rules, struc­tural re­forms of the mar­ket of cap­i­tal, la­bor, goods and ser­vices, con­struc­tion of Eurasian net­works in power en­gi­neer­ing, trans­port and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions.

We will come to the point when we will need to de­fine our eco­nomic com­mu­nity. I think this will be the Eurasian Union. We should not be afraid of that, as we are al­ready sur­rounded by nu­mer­ous unions, the Be­laru­sian Pres­i­dent be­lieves.

Later, dur­ing a work­ing din­ner, the pres­i­dents said that this union might be­come oper­a­tional by the end of 2013.

The coun­tries will be guided by norms and rules of the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WTO). The im­por­tance of ac­ces­sion to the WTO was reaf­firmed by all the three states. This is cru­cial be­cause Rus­sia has al­ready cleared all bar­ri­ers on its way to the WTO. Kaza­khstan is lag­ging be­hind, but it has made more progress than Be­larus.

Thus, it is clear that Rus­sia, hav­ing joined the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion, will open the door for goods from WTO coun­tries to the mar­kets of Be­larus and Kaza­khstan. The two coun­tries, in turn, will be un­able to en­joy sim­i­lar ex­port ben­e­fits. There­fore, it is im­por­tant that Rus­sia should help its SES part­ners to join the WTO as soon as pos­si­ble.

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