Belarus, Kazakhstan Snub Russia's Calls to Boycott Ukraine Goods

Business | June 30, 2014, Monday // 16:27
Bulgaria: Belarus, Kazakhstan Snub Russia's Calls to Boycott Ukraine Goods Left to right: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at the ceremonial event that set up the Eurasian Economic Union in end-May. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Kazakhstan and Belarus have rejected Russia's proposal that the the three countries jointly adopt a special system to receive Ukrainian goods.

At a session of the Eurasian Economic Council, the main body at recently-established Eurasian Economic Union, representatives of Astana and Minsk downplayed reports that the three EEU members would take a common stance in response to Kiev's signing of a EU Association Agreement on June 27.

Belarusian officials were quoted by Russia's Vedomosti as saying the country did not deem Ukraine's relations with the EU to be harmful to the Customs Union in which the EEU countries take part.

The Kremlin is nevertheless set to scrap some trade exemptions made to Ukraine if Friday's deal constitutes a threat to the Russian economy, and duties on Ukraine-made goods could rise from 0 to 7.1 percent, business daily RBC reports.

Such a move could hamper both countries, as Ukraine could retaliate.

Ukraine accounts for 4.5 to 6% of Russian exports, and Moscow risks losing USD 5.8 B (1.1% of the total volume) if export duties are raised.

Russia, for its part, is Ukraine's largest export destination (24% of the total), with Turkey coming second with just 6%, and dwindled commercial output could push the Ukrainian GDP down 0.5 to 1 percent.

Ukraine was initially on the brink of entering the Customs Union, but former President Viktor Yanukovych renounced the deal amid mass street protests that later descended into violence.

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Tags: Eurasian Economic Union, Eurasian Economic Council, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, customs union, imports, exports

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