President Vladimir Putin: Dear colleagues, today we will ratify the list of 29 international legal documents agreed upon by a high-level group which are of top-priority for examination and signing.
Implementing these documents will significantly liberalise mutual trade and remove the barriers that exist here, and in the long-term will create the conditions for forming a customs union and a common competitive environment.
It is important that the work schedule for the legal documents that was planned in Yalta is strictly adhered to, and as we agreed, experts should propose specific decisions for the top-priority issues by the end of the year.
I want to particularly stress: the necessity of dashing steps and harsh deadlines are dictated by life itself and the strategic interests of the development of our nations.
Last year alone, the growth of mutual trade between CES member countries came to around 30%. The total volume of accumulated investment of “group of four” countries in the Russian economy is now over $130 million. Russia itself has invested around $150 million in CES countries. We must support this positive dynamic, in many ways ensured by the active work of our business communities, at an intergovernmental level.
To achieve this, I propose that we must complete the transfer to levying indirect taxes on the “destination country” principle, and we must do this in full, without waivers, including on natural gas, oil and gas condensate delivered from the Russian Federation.
This issue has already been regulated with Ukraine. Preparation of the appropriate documents with Belarus and Kazakhstan is currently being completed.
At the same time I want to note the following: Russia is a major deliverer of energy resources to Ukraine and Belarus, and at the first stage we will suffer financial losses from the change of tax regimes. We are ready for this. We are ready because in the long term, the economy of all four countries wins strategically from the realisation of this initiative, and this means all our citizens do too.
Simplifying the border crossing procedures of the “group of four” countries is also in the interests of our people. We support this proposal by Leonid Kuchma. The citizens of our countries should make use of all the benefits that the integration processes contain.
At the same time I believe that increasing freedom of movement must be accompanied by coordinated measures to increase control and cooperation between our law-enforcement structures, and in general it should be backed up by simultaneous and parallel actions in the war on international terrorism.