Belarus is ready to join Customs Union agreements signed by Kazakhstan and Russia in late May on condition that they make "no exceptions," Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Yewdachenka said at a Belarusian-Polish economic forum in Minsk on Wednesdsay.
Last month Russia and Kazakhstan agreed to launch the union on July 1 on a bilateral basis without Belarus after negotiations stalled as Moscow refused to abolish its export duty on crude oil that it sells to Minsk.
Mr. Yewdachenka said that Belarus had "serious" differences with Russia. "We don’t have a common policy regarding export duties," he said. "Moreover, Russia considers it possible to apply further duties in mutual trade between the three countries. We strongly oppose this message."
At present, Belarusian experts working on a package of documents needed for the establishment by the three states of a single economic space, he said. "A key issue about this project is that the Russian side doesn’t see any solutions to disputes over crude, petroleum products, gas and other resources even in this economic union. It means that the Russian side excludes the energy sector from integration within both the Customs Union and the single economic space."
Belarusian Economy Minister Mikalay Snapkow said on June 4 that Belarus would join the union before July 1.
Referring to an earlier meeting between Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Igor Shuvalov, Russia`s deputy prime minister, Mr. Snapkow said that the talks had confirmed the readiness of Minsk and Moscow to settle their disputes and move ahead with the establishment of the union on July 1.
When asked whether Belarus is ready to give up its demands for the abolition of Russia’s export duty on crude, the minister said that "most likely, the disagreements will be settled."