Ukraine unlikely to join Russia-led customs union, says FM

09:42, May 15, 2010      

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Ukraine is unlikely to join a customs union involving Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the country's foreign minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko said here on Friday.

"We are a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ukraine ' s accession to the customs union would go against our commitments as a WTO member," Hryshchenko said in an interview with the Kommersant-Ukraine business daily.

Hryshchenko also said Ukraine intended to play a more active part in cooperation with members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) without seeking a full membership in the group.

"Our current status (as participating non-member) is enough to play a more active role in the CIS. It is the approach rather than format that matters," the minister said.

Kiev is negotiating a free-trade agreement with the EU, which is incompatible with joining the Russia-led customs union.

Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus in late November 2009 signed an agreement to form a customs union, paving the way for a single economic space. The document took effect on Jan. 1, when the three countries introduced common foreign trade tariffs.

Source: Xinhua
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