Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
First of all, we must all thank the Chairman of the EurAsEC Interstate Council, Nursultan Nazarbayev, for his profound and substantive report and for the sustained work he has been conducting all this time as chairman. By the way, jumping ahead a little bit, I think it would be right if we asked him to remain chairman for another year, in spite of his reluctance. We have already discussed this in a narrow circle, and we all agree that many positive initiatives have come from Kazakhstan. There are other integration processes underway and all this needs to be coordinated with what is happening within the EurAsEC. The President of Kazakhstan is immersed in all these problems and he is best equipped to handle all these issues. There will be no deterioration in the quality of work. But on the whole, the report deserves support.
There is one other issue which has been pointed out by Alexander Lukashenko: the speeding of integration processes connected with particularly sensitive areas, such as non-tariff restrictions on trade. It was the Russian delegation that has suggested postponing the final decisions on these issues until September. If the Chairman does not object I would like to propose that the head of our delegation’s experts, Deputy Prime Minister Khristenko, briefly comment on the Russia’s position.
In our opinion, non-tariff regulation measures and restrictions is a reaction to the disharmonies of our legislations in the customs and economic spheres. It is a response to the economic realities and is designed to eliminate these discrepancies. We believe that the introduction of these restrictive measures will encourage the governments to harmonize legislations.
On the whole I agree with our colleagues, with the Chairman and with the President of Belarus that delays cannot be tolerated. We have asked that experts be given some time to finalize the documents, but I urge all the experts to work actively not only to remove these restrictions, but mainly to remove the causes that prompt these restrictions. Legislations must be harmonized, and common customs and other economic regulators must be introduced.
In planning for the future it is important to analyze how earlier agreements have worked in practice, how effectively the production and scientific potential of the EurAsEC members is being used, and how the currency and financial, customs and transport agreements work.
Obviously, many aspects of the EurAsEC activities still don’t have a solid enough foundation. There is not enough experience. But we must assess objectively the results of our joint efforts if we want to take optimal decisions and make the necessary adjustments. I expect that our work today will serve the process of integration.