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Belarus-Russia tighter integration hinges on resolution of critical issues in economic cooperation

MOSCOW (BelTA) – Further integration in the Union State of Belarus and Russia is possible only after the most critical issues in Belarus-Russia economic cooperation are resolved. Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas made the statement before a session of the Council of Ministers of the Union State of Belarus and Russia began in Moscow on 19 November, BelTA has learned.

Sergei Rumas reminded that on 6 September the prime ministers of Belarus and Russia initialed a draft action program on implementing the Union State Foundation Treaty. Work to compile 31 roadmaps began after that. “Not everything proceeded smoothly. The sides came up with diametrically opposite integration ideas on a number of things. There are still unresolved issues on a number of roadmaps. Our stance during the negotiations has been clear and consistent: further integration is possible only if the most critical problems in bilateral economic cooperation are resolved. Those we believe include oil and gas pricing practices, consequences of the tax maneuver, barriers preventing products from reaching domestic national markets, unequal incentives for manufacturers, including support via subsidies, and other things,” Sergei Rumas said.

According to the prime minister of Belarus, not all of these matters are reflected by the roadmaps so far. “And even if they are, the timeframes for taking the steps are different,” he stated. “Meanwhile, Belarus is getting particularly concerned about the conditions, in which the national economy will have to operate in 2020 because negative consequences of the tax maneuver in Russia are piling up.”

“This is why today as we sum up results of the efforts to prepare the roadmaps, we are resolute to tackle the issues that still stand. The resolution of these issues and a clear stance on them are extremely important for the proper preparation of the session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, which we expect will begin a new stage in the development of the Union State,” Sergei Rumas concluded.