16 Apr 2010 15:28

Formation of Customs Union will give 16% GDP growth to member countries by 2020 - Slepnev

MOSCOW. April 16 (Interfax) - The creation of Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will bring these countries 16% GDP growth in the next 10 years, said Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Slepnev said during a presentation to the State Duma.

"The outcome [of the union's creation] has been evaluated and it is positive. All countries will receive around an additional 16% in GDP growth over 10 years," Slepnev said.

He added that these substantial changes still have not affected the bulk of Russian producers, since current Russian tariffs form the basis of a single import custom duties as of January. Slepnev said that the largest correction (3,500 commodity positions from 10,000) was for import of goods to Kazakhstan. "The situation there is quite tense because duties on automobiles, household appliance and other products have increased substantially. Russian production actively occupies this market. We believe that this is a plus for us as we have entry onto a new market," he said.

He also said that customs control on the Kazakh border would be lifted starting July 1, 2010. "This will be done if the Kazakh authorities carry out their plans for strengthening the southern border," Slepnev said.

Commenting on questions from Duma deputies about involving Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan into the Customs Union, Slepnev said that both countries have expressed interest but negotiations on this issue have yet to start.