Kyrgyzstan Formally Enters EAEU, Customs Controls to be Removed

ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed the Kazakh law ratifying the accession of the Kyrgyz Republic into the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Aug. 5.

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According to AKIpress, Russian President Vladimir Putin ratified the agreement on the Kyrgyz Republic’s entry into the organisation on July 13 and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ratified it on July 24.

On July 27, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev told Russian news agency TASS that Kyrgyzstan would open its customs borders to other EAEU member states soon. “I know that Nazarbayev supports these plans,” he said.

Officials in both Astana and Bishkek announced that Nazarbayev and Atambayev will together observe via a live video link the removal of customs checkpoints between the two countries on Aug. 12. The removal of customs control is one of the key components of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union which focuses on promoting the so-called four freedoms of movement of goods, services, capital and workforce.

The meeting with Atambayev is to take place during Nazarbayev’s two-day working visit to the neighbouring country on Aug. 11-12. Their talks will focus on “a number of concrete issues of cooperation in areas of investment and industry, road construction, tourism and the use of resources of trans-border rivers,” Dauren Abayev, the press secretary for President Nazarbayev, told Kazinform on Aug. 11.

“The removal of customs controls on the border with Kyrgyzstan is an important stage in the development of an integration initiative launched by Nursultan Nazarbayev more than 20 years ago,” Abayev said referring to the proposal, first put forward in 1994, to create a Eurasian Union. “This is an event we have all been waiting for and it has a strategic significance for our head of state. The expansion of geography of the common market should be primarily beneficial for the well-being of citizens of our countries.”

He also commented on the assistance Kazakhstan provided to Kyrgyzstan during the process of its accession to the EAEU.

“In his foreign policy, Nursultan Nazarbayev has always prioritised the well-being of the entire region of Central Asia,” he said. “By providing assistance to our neighbours, we are creating beneficial environment for our own development. That is why throughout the preparatory period Kazakhstan has helped the brotherly nation in issues of joining the common market. Consultations took place on technical and methodological issues, and significant financial assistance was provided. Further painless integration of the Kyrgyz economy into the EAEU fully meets Kazakhstan’s national interests.”

Senior officials from the two governments will be present for the actual removal of the customs control at the Akzhol Avtodorozhnyi checkpoint.

Earlier, Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan Yerbolat Dossayev noted, in connection with Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the EAEU, that members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will negotiate the introduction of relevant tariff commitments for Kyrgyzstan in accordance with the organisation’s rules.

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Obligations of Kyrgyzstan in the WTO do not extend to other member states of the EAEU. The main terms of Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the union were agreed to in the framework of the accession acts. Thus, the abolition of customs control will take place since the ratification of the Treaty of Accession of Kyrgyzstan to the EAEU by all member states. The decision was made after the country’s reformation of a number of checkpoints in compliance with the union’s requirements. In particular, the Russian side provided full technical assistance to Kyrgyzstan to equip these checkpoints, he informed.

The Eurasian Economic Union was launched in 2015 based on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. Armenia soon joined the union. The grouping was launched to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital and workforce within its borders. Kyrgyz President Atambayev signed a bill on his country’s accession to the EAEU on May 21.

Nazarbayev also signed the law ratifying the protocol on the accession of the Republic of Armenia to the Treaty of Accession of the Kyrgyz Republic to the Eurasian Economic Union signed Dec. 23, 2014.

This protocol stipulates that Armenia recognises Kyrgyzstan as a member of the EAEU and agrees to the terms of accession established in the Treaty of Accession of the Kyrgyz Republic to the Treaty of the Union.

Many countries have expressed interest in setting up a free trade zone with the EAEU. Vietnam has already signed the agreement, while India is in discussions on such a zone. Thailand is expected to launch a free trade zone with the EAEU in 2016.

In addition to this, Nazarbayev has approved amendments to national legislation on the fight against the laundering of the proceeds of crime and the financing of terrorism, AKIpress reported.

The document was published on Aug. 5 and was designed during the 14th plenary session of the Eurasian Group for Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG) and the International Standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The changes set new rules that expand the list of items subject to financial monitoring for the fight against the shadow economy. The amendments also outline the risks that are created by money laundering and terror financing.

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