Single economic environment no alternative to CIS - Nazarbaev

Nursultan Nazarbaev, President of Kazakhstan, believes that formation of the Single Economic Environment (SEE) "is no alternative to the Commonwealth of Independent States and is not targeted to destroy the Commonwealth, which is already in existence". He said this in Chisinau on Wednesday after a meeting with Vladimir Voronin, President of Moldova, in a comment on his approach to the SEE.

Last February the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan voiced their intention to form a new structure - the Single Economic Environment -- within the CIS.

"It manifests the desire to unfold within the CIS an integration association - normal and functioning without idle paperwork and documents, which we sign of no avail," Nazarbaev said.

He is sure that regional integration is the demand of the time. "The economy is on the rise in every member of the Commonwealth, which calls for new markets", Nazarbaev continued.

"In order to open these markets, regional integration, opening of the borders and customs tariffs should be agreed upon, which means the lifting of barriers for both commodities and capital", said the Kazakh president. "Against the background of such pragmatic things new initiatives and desires, like the SEE, emerge," he continued.

In the opinion of Nazarbaev, the creation of a free-trade zone will be the first step towards the Single Economic Environment.

"If the four states - Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan with their biggest economies in the Commonwealth - hopefully form a normal integration association, and lift barriers blocking the movement of commodities and capital, men and services, their association will be of interest for other members of the Commonwealth. Joining the association requires meeting certain terms", Nazarbaev stressed.

"After the four states ink the agreement, it will be the time to change the national laws on taxes, customs, social benefits, subsidies to especially monopolistic sectors of the economy. This will take time for parliamentarians to consider and identify these documents", said the Kazakh leader.

In Nazarbaev's opinion, "only the state which has done all that before entry will get the right to join the Single Economic Environment".

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