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Tajikistan Expresses Readiness to Become Customs Union Member

Thursday 27 September 2012

DUSHANBE (Interfax) – Tajikistan intends to join the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, the Tajik Economic Development and Trade Ministry said. The statement was released at a roundtable entitled The Customs Union and Tajikistan: New Integration Prospects in Dushanbe on Wednesday.

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Yuri Popov, Russian Ambassador to Tajikistan

The Eurasian Research Institute Development Fund of Russia and the Institute of Economics and Demography of the Tajik Academy of Sciences organized the roundtable, which was attended by representatives of the Russian and Tajik presidential administrations, parliament deputies of both countries, experts and Tajik government members.

“The admission of Tajikistan to the Customs Union will be a significant step towards economic integration with Russia and other Customs Union members,” the ministry said.

Membership in the Customs Union will give Tajik goods duty-free access to markets of Customs Union states and facilitate imports of petroleum products, timber, grain and other commodities needed by the Tajik economy, the ministry said.

Russian Ambassador to Tajikistan Yuri Popov supported the thesis at the roundtable. “Although the entry of Tajikistan in the Customs Union is possible only after the accession of Kyrgyzstan for obvious reasons, the question is already topical,” he said.

Earlier Tajikistan was cautious about its possible membership in the Customs Union. It said it had no common borders with Customs Union states. Tajik officials said the republic would have to wait until Kyrgyzstan, which shared a border with Kazakhstan, entered into the Customs Union. In turn, Kyrgyzstan expressed the wish for the soonest joining of the organization.

Tajikistan also seeks membership in the World Trade Organization and expects to complete the accession procedure within two years.

Russia and Kazakhstan are the two biggest trade partners of Tajikistan, which accounted for 20% and 13.6% of Tajikistan’s total foreign trade in January-August 2012.

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