Wednesday, August 15, 2012 -
The tripartite customs union comprised of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan is in negotiations with New Zealand and the European Union, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
“The ‘troika’ of the customs union and Common Economic Space is also interested in negotiating free trade with countries outside the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States],” Lavrov said during a joint press conference in Moscow with Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov.
“We are carrying out such contacts with New Zealand, and a preliminary conversation with Vietnam, as well as negotiations with the European Free Trade Association.”
Lavrov emphasized the role of the customs union in liberalizing trade regimes between the three partner states which will benefit countries and customers within member countries.
He emphasized that regional trading blocs is not unique to Eurasia and also exist in North America, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated his desire to expand the customs union into a Eurasian Union of sorts, which he insists is not a replication of the USSR.
Central Asian states Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have also expressed their interest in joining the customs union.