Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich

    Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has confirmed that Belarus does not want any exemptions and restrictions in the future Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The Belarusian head of state made this statement as he received Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich on 16 April.

    The President asked about the results of the recent meeting of the Premiers of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan in Moscow. “It is very important, as the meeting was held in the run-up to the session of the heads of state in Minsk on 29 April. This should be a milestone, fundamental meeting, because after that we will have no time for fine-tuning the economic union treaty,” the Belarusian leader said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko also asked about the positions and attitudes of Belarus’ partners, first of all, the Russian Federation. “Belarus’ suggestions are absolutely feasible. If we want a union and seek to remove all borders between the partner states, it means that there should not be any exemptions and restrictions in the movement of goods, workforce and capital. This is the number-one goal. That is our fundamental point. There are many speculations now alleging that we pursue our own agenda and so on, as if we should pursue the goals of the European Union or the United States…” the Belarusian President said.

    “Everyone has its own agenda, but we totally agree with the declared goals and are not going to deviate. We are going to lose a lot, too. We are a small country compared to Russia and we do understand what we might pay for it. However, once we made up our mind to do it, we will do it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

    Mikhail Myasnikovich informed that about ten issues were discussed with Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev during a one-on-one meeting. One of them was the promotion of Belarusian farm machines in Russia. “We are like foreigners there. They say that the level of localization should be 30% and higher. Dmitry Medvedev agreed that Russian spare parts used for the production of Belarusian machinery should also be taken into consideration while calculating the level of localization. For example, we purchase engines from Yaroslavl Motor Plant, so these engines should be included into these 30% of localization,” Mikhail Myasnikovich said. In his words, Dmitry Medvedev gave the instruction to Vice Premier Arkady Dvorkovich to take into account the use of Russian spare parts while calculating the level of localization.

    Speaking about the drafting of the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty, Mikhail Myasnikovich noted that both Kazakhstan and Russia are trying to push for a rather ambiguous wording of certain provisions and set forth some transition periods. “Belarus has put it clearly that we are in favor of the common market without exemptions and restrictions. This market should become operational on 1 January 2015. If one of the partners does not want to participate, we will proceed on the bilateral basis. The fundamental principles remain the same: equal conditions for economic operators. Naturally, there should not be any exemptions and restrictions – neither tariff nor quantitative – in the mutual trade,” the Belarusian Premier said.

    The head of state gave a number of instructions related to the investment program and implementation of individual projects. He also set a task to ramp up efforts to fix poorly performing light industry companies, and other companies and associations supervised by the government.