Today, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu met Peter Balas, Deputy Director General of EC’s Directorate General for Trade, who gave an overview of the ongoing WTO negotiations with Russia, Kazakhstan and Byelorussia who have created a single customs union.
In the words of the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Sven Mikser, the European Union can have nothing against the creation of regional customs unions, in view of the fact that the European Union itself is also a customs union, among other things, but Estonia does not support additional protectionist measures which hinder the development of economic relations. Also, it is Estonia’s position that the European Union has to pursue a consistent policy in relations with Russia.
In Balas’ opinion, the creation of the customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Byelorussia has complicated the negotiations on accession to the WTO of these countries because these countries have different levels but at the same time they wish to harmonise their rules before accession to the WTO.
In Balas opinion, if Russia does not agree to abandon its protectionist policy, which it would be forced to do upon accession to the WTO, and to open its market for the European Union, then the Russian economy will remain dependent on crude oil and gas export in the future. Balas also confirmed that the European Union has to take a consistent position in relations with Russia, and he shares Estonia’s position in this issue.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Sven Mikser, Deputy Chairman Enn Eesmaa and member of the Committee Valdur Lahtvee a took part in today’s meeting.
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