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Russia-led free-trade zone will soon include 5 more countries

Russia-led free-trade zone will soon include 5 more countries
Free-trade agreements are expected to be signed between the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Israel, Singapore, India, Egypt and Iran in the near future.

That’s according to Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Industry Sergey Tsyb. He said WTO member states currently use over 7,500 non-tariff measures such as quotas, licenses, restrictions and embargos in respect of industrial goods.

“Therefore, in our opinion, it would be very productive if we actively move towards the conclusion of agreements on the free-trade zone,” said the official.

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This would make it possible to promote exports within the framework of regional trade hubs, he explained. “That will definitely help in this challenging and highly sensitive situation on global markets to provide the opportunity for promotion of Russian export initiatives.”

The EEU, which is based on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, was established in 2015. It was later joined by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. In 2016, Vietnam officially became the first non-regional country to join the bloc. The union is designed to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital and workers between member countries.

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More than 40 countries and international organizations, including China, Indonesia, and Israel, as well as some South American countries, have expressed interest in a free-trade deal with the EEU. The trade bloc has also held negotiations with South Korea, Egypt, and India.

Iran signed an interim agreement with the economic bloc last year, with a full-fledged agreement expected within three years.

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