Agreement on Common Economic Zone Envisages Harmonised Macroeconomic Policy

The agreement between the Presidents of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine on forming a common economic zone, which is to be prepared by September 2003, must envisage a harmonised macroeconomic policy.

Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Nurlan Onzhanov made this statement in his interview with the Kazakhstanskaya pravda newspaper.

While preparing the draft agreement the high level group intends to analyze the four states' domestic and foreign policies, he said.

This work must discover the barriers restraining comprehensive integration, Onzhanov pointed out. The competitive policy and role of antimonopoly authorities, systems of a branch state regulation as well as current deductions and benefits will also be the main focus of the analysis.

Besides the preparation of the agreement, September 2003 is to see the completion of the parties' economic policy on a number of directions, harmonisation of the current legislation and creation of a single interstate regulation committee on trade and tariffs, the Deputy Minister also stated.

This is the first agreement implying the creation of a body on foreign trade control and passing an agreement on key economic issues, Onzhanov stressed.

The agreement envisages a duty-free movement of goods and services on the four countries' territories.

An independent interstate committee on trade and tariffs will promote the future organisation to the supranational level, according to Onzhanov.

The committee will independently establish import and export fees, introduce changes to the agreement, touching upon the parties' rights and liabilities to each other in the trade and economic area.

The committee will also be entitled to resolve issues of the liberalisation of trade in goods, forming of a capital movement regime, primarily touching upon protection of investments, the service trade regime in separate sectors and unification of the competitive policy based on the WTO principals and rights, Onzhanov stated.

"As a result we will receive a real Organisation of regional integration," the Deputy Minister stressed.

When answering the question why it was Moscow, Minsk, Astana and Kiev that had agreed to take more efficient measures to develop integration, the Deputy Minister pointed out that these countries had "the highest economic potential and were closer in speed, dynamics and contents of their current reforms." Today the contents of the EurAsEC integration policy differ significantly from the EU one, according to Onzhanov.

For example, the EurAsEC definitely favours macroeconomic approaches, unlike the EU. And also, it tries to reach higher integration stages by resolving the tasks of the lower ones.

The mechanism of coordinating the national legislation in the framework of the EurAsEC is at some points similar to the one of the EU, though it is not aimed at comprehensive adjustment of the legal base to the current EU legislation, the Deputy Minister said.

Onzhanov believes the EurAsEC development rate is better than that of other regional CIS organisations. However, both EurAsEC and the CIS real integration processes are lagging behind their legal registration.

Accordingly, the Deputy Minister supposes the "quartet's" statement is aimed at further development of the agreement on a common free trade zone and creation of a common economic zone as a real mechanism to fulfil their regional interests.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team