With Putin’s recent invitation for Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to join the new Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union, many have wondered whether Kyrgyzstan could join in line with its standing commitments to the World Trade Organization.
One commonly held misbelief is that the WTO and a customs union are mutually exclusive – actually there are several customs unions that function within the WTO (such as the EU). However, WTO rules do not clearly provide for customs unions between WTO members and non-members.
Continue reading Kyrgyzstan: WTO or Customs Union – Pick Your Poison
The question of whether Russia will try to draw more of Central Asia into the recently christened Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus (CU) was put to rest on May 21. At a meeting of the heads of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) member states, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made clear his intentions to expand the CU further south:
As far as I know, there is not a single member of EurAsEC which would not like to join the work of the Customs Union. We will work with you in this direction.
Continue reading Putin Assures Central Asia they Want His Customs Union