Trade relations 'not too bad' in Eurasian Union – official

11:48 • 12.07.16



The trade relations among the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union are not so negative as they may look at first sight, says Timur Suleymanov, a member (minister) of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Economy and Financial Policy Board.


According to him, the turnover, which has decreased in terms of US Dollars, is unchanged if not higher when it comes to national currencies. Speaking to Tert.am, the official admitted, however, that there are tax-related problems requiring an urgent solution.


Has the Eurasian Economic Union ensured free trade among its member states in the past year?


Yes. Let me note, first of all, that we distinguish between commodity trade and service trade, and also transportation of labor force, capital, etc. The commodity trade is absolutely without hindrance; we have managed to ensure free transportation for most of the goods. There are a range of products, such as alcoholic beverages, cars, fish, black caviar, and medicines [whose trade is regulated] in a slightly different way. But their transportation too, will be free [of red-tape] after the member states approximate and harmonize their legislations.


Mr Suleymanov, many Armenian businessmen complain about red-tape at border checkpoints as they are required to produce extra documents and licenses, which must be common.


They cannot require such documents at border checkpoints. as there are actually no customs checkpoints between our countries. As for the documents, that depends on the product being exported. If an exporter is engaged in animal breeding, he or she must receive a breeder’s certificate. In Armenia, such certificates used to serve for domestic purposes only; now, they are applicable across the EEU. But there are new forms and standards. What we need is to elaborate common and uniform rules and documents, which we are practically doing.


Are you content with the turnover among the member states? Particularly, does the exchange of goods between Armenia and Kazakhstan satisfy you?


No I am not. And all that has to do with logistics, as its impact is great. We do not have a land border with Armenia. There is a border through Georgian which has a limited number of customs checkpoints. Also, we have the awareness problem. Armenian businessman do not know what [goods] Kazakhstan has, and Kazakh businessmen are not aware of what is available in Armenia. To solve the problem, we need to conduct trade markets and exhibition.


So are any steps being undertaken now?


Yes, we are planning the Eurasian Week forum, which will be conducted in September. It will be a chance for each of the states to offer its own products.


Are there no Kazakh products in Armenia now?


I don’t think there are. I personally haven’t seen any goods of Kazakh production in Yerevan. As for the Armenian goods, I haven’t seen any in Kazakhstan either, apart from brandy.


When the Eurasian Economic Union was just coming into existence, there was much criticism that it would not be to the member states' advantage. Time showed, however, that there was, nonetheless, a tangible progress.


There are benefits. In terms of the Dollar, the trade turnover has decreased among all the member states. Against the Dollar appreciation and the national currencies’ appreciation, the [turnover] hasn’t practically decreased [in currencies other than] the Dollar. In terms of physical volumes, it is satisfactory if not higher. So the things aren’t that bad. The turnover between Armenia and Kazakhstan, for example, has increased. I cannot point to a specific figure now, but it isn’t very high. Anyway, it is three times higher than it used to be.  

But the turnover with Russia is down.


It is, but that’s the result of calculations in Dollars. We cannot say the EEU is without problems, and all is clockwork, all is order. We do really have problems, but they require a solution.

Tigranuhi Martirosyan





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