Negotiations on Creation of Common Free Market Zone in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan

Negotiations on the creation of a common free market zone on the territory of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan will begin on April 16. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced by Deputy Russian Prime Minister Victor Khristenko at a press conference today.

A number of issues will be discussed including entry into the WTO, approaches to creating a single tariff policy within the free market zone and the status and authority of supranational economic management within the zone. They will also try to determine the dates and stages for creating such a zone.

Mr Khristenko emphasised that the creation of a new economic union on CIS territory 'corresponds to the interests of the individual countries and demonstrates the growing level of cooperation between CIS states.' He did not discount the possibility that a single currency would be introduced within the common free market zone although he said 'it is too early to comment on when such a step might be taken.'

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