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Lukashenko says Belarus to quit Customs Union if forced to pay oil duties

October 12 2013, 10:40

Belarus will not be able to afford membership in the Customs Union if receives no economic benefits from it, says Belarussian leader Aleksander Lukashenko.

He told about challenges Belarus might face in the context of oil duties. Lukashenko told that Russian president Vladimir Putin had promised to lift all trade limits starting January 1, 2014.

Belarussian president says Minsk transfers $4 billion of duties to the Russian budget every year. 

"If these 4 billion stayed in the country I would build Emirates here," Lukashenko claimed. He added that all members of the union should remove trade barriers.

Currently, Belarus receives oil from Russia free of duties, but is obliged to pay duties in case it sells oil products made from Russian oil to third countries.

In 2012 Minsk has paid $3.8 billion duties to Russia.

Last year, Moscow and Minsk signed an agreement on delivery of oil throughout the year. Russia refused to ink the following deal citing machinations of Belarussian oilmen who sold oil products under the disguise of solvents and diluters to evade duties.

Reportedly, Kremlin evaluated the losses from the manipulation at $1.5 billion.



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