22 Jul 2019 13:40

Belarus, Russia planning to introduce uniform rules for key markets in 2021

MINSK. July 22 (Interfax) - Minsk and Moscow are planning to introduce uniform rules for key industries, including energy and agriculture, in 2021, Belarusian Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi said in an interview with Belarus 1 television on Sunday.

"The main thing is that we [working groups on integration] have worked out a uniform concept, a uniform approach to the entire project: roadmaps by November, unified legislation by the middle of next year, and the launch of the key markets we've agreed on using uniform rules in 2021," Krutoi said, adding that he was referring not only to oil and gas markets, but also to industrial manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation.

"The idea is to give a company, no matter where it's registered, in Russia or Belarus, an opportunity to use uniform rules and uniform managerial solutions, uniform control systems, uniform integrated information systems. In large part, this unified legislation that we're talking about in the context of roadmaps will become the forerunner of the unified markets," he said.

"Belarus's conceptual proposal is about incorporating current issues into general talks: gas prices, the tax maneuver, access to Russian subsidy programs for our industrial goods, the removal of restrictions on Belarusian agricultural products on the Russian market. So that they don't stay off to the side but get packaged into the general negotiating track and move in parallel," Krutoi said.

He said that there was a "very open and honest conversation" at a meeting in St. Petersburg involving the countries' presidents and representatives of their joint working group on integration. "Exports gave reports on every area, what progress we've managed to make, where there are still difficult, unfinalized things. The presidents expressed their opinions on absolutely all issues, several new initiatives appeared, and soon we and our Russian colleagues should think about how to further package them into the integration program," Krutoi said.

The discussion is going well, he said, with "more than 80% of the program finalized."

Discussing the Russian side's attitude to Belarus's proposals, Krutoi said, "There's been no stalling. We and our Russian colleagues are very constructively discussing absolutely every item, no topics are off-limit."