Lukashenka wants to keep ‘national protectionism’ outside EAEU

On November 27, Alyaksandr Lukashenka met with the government heads of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) members in Minsk.

During the meeting, the head of Belarus reminded that the EAEU has been operating for 4 years, and there are still many problems. “The main problems are known, so I would like to urge you and ask again carefully to discuss them and make the considered decisions necessary for the establishment of a full-fledged economic union,” Lukashenka said.

The main problem for Belarus in the EAEU, Lukashenka said, was “unprofitable” import duties.

Import duties in the EAEU are distributed as follows: Armenia – 1.22%, Belarus – 4.56%, Kazakhstan – 7.055%, Kyrgyzstan – 1.9%, Russia – 85.265%. Regulations will be valid until December 31, 2019.

“The logical question is: what are we then striving for — a single economic space or the use of legal loopholes for national protectionism? We all must clearly understand that the union will be of value to our economies and external partners only if it becomes a predictable organization that will play according to the rules we have defined,” the head of Belarus said.

A number of experts criticize the EAEU for having a strong political factor. Russia uses trade leverage to put political pressure on the allies, and they, in turn, are trying to get economic compensation for this, including through illegal methods. At the same time, Belarus is very inert in the negotiation process and often signs agreements worsening the country’s position in the long term, resolving the issue of short-term assistance, for example, with a loan from Moscow.

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