Customs Union, Israel may create free trade zone

The Customs Union, bringing together Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, and Israel have launched the work of a joint research group to study the prospects for the creation of a free trade zone, the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) reported on Tuesday.

The joint group is comprised of experts of the EEC, ministries and departments of the Customs Union and the State of Israel, the Voice of Russia reports.

According to EEC Trade Minister Andrei Slepnyov, “the task of the research group is to conduct a deep system-oriented analysis of the prospects for the creation of a free trade zone between the countries.” “The group is to determine which questions such an agreement might cover and outline possible approaches to the mutually advantageous settlement of sensitive issues for specific sectors,” Slepnyov said.

On the results of their study, the experts will present a special report and recommendations on the basis of which a decision may be taken to launch negotiations on a free trade zone between the Customs Union member countries and the State of Israel.

The EEC said that modern free trade agreements are aimed at creating favourable conditions for the further development of trade-economic co-operation. In addition to the classical issues of liberalization of trade in goods through the reduction of customs duties, such agreements often include other disciplines, for example, issues related to trade in services and other measures of easing mutual investment activity, the development of cross-border trade in services, ensuring the necessary protection and encouragement of capital investment.

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