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Agreement on the Customs Union’s Functioning within a Multilateral Trade System has been submitted to the State Duma for ratification

August 22, 2011

Dmitry Medvedev submitted to the State Duma for ratification the Agreement on the Customs Union’s Functioning within a Multilateral Trade System, signed in Minsk on May 19, 2011.

The agreement was drafted in accordance with the decisions reached at a head-of-government level meeting of the  Eurasian Economic Community’s Interstate Council (the Customs Union’s highest body) in Minsk on March 15, 2011 on the issue of the Republic of Belarus, Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Russian Federation’s accession to World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The agreement is intended to ensure full-fledged functioning of the  Customs Union if one or more of its members join the WTO. It also lays the legal grounds for the Customs Union member countries to fulfil their obligations towards the WTO with regard to assigning some trade regulation functions to supranational level.

The need for the agreement arose out of the absence in the Customs Union’s framework of a mechanism regulating its member countries’ participation in other international groupings. This could result in conflicting international obligations in case a Customs Union member joined the WTO. 

Under the agreement’s provisions, WTO rules concerning areas regulated by the Customs Union become part of the Customs Union’s own body of laws. 

Furthermore, the agreement establishes priority of Customs Union member countries’ obligations toward the WTO over their obligations within the Customs Union.

The agreement’s ratification is expected to facilitate the successful conclusion of the Customs Union member countries’ WTO accession negotiations. 

The procedures for the agreement’s entry into force and the conditions for withdrawing from it and joining it are set out in the Protocol on Procedures for Entry into Force of International Agreements Forming the Customs Union’s Legal Framework, Withdrawing from Them, and Joining Them, signed on October 6, 2007. 

The agreement is subject to ratification under Item 2, Article 15 of Federal Law 101- FZ of July 15, 1995 On International Agreements of the Russian Federation.

August 22, 2011