Ex-Soviet nations sign free-trade deal

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Oct. 19, 2011, 7:15 a.m. | Ukraine — by Associated Press

Meeting of Prime Ministers from the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose association of ex-Soviet republics, in St.Petersburg, Russia on Oct. 18, 2011.
© AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Russia, Ukraine and six other former Soviet republics signed a free-trade agreement Tuesday that will scrap export and import duties on some goods. The deal was announced after talks in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city.

Three more ex-Soviet nations — Uzbekistan and oil and gas-rich Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan — did not sign the agreement but said they would consider doing so before the end of the year.

The free-trade deal was signed at a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose group of 11 nations formed shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin did not identify the goods that will be freed of export and import duties, but said the agreement will lower prices for those goods, creating better conditions for businesses among the nations and "making our economies more competitive."

Putin also insisted that the trade deal does not clash with the commitments that Russia needs to undertake in order to join the World Trade Organization, an international trade body that Russia has been trying to get into for nearly two decades.

The agreement would come into effect next year provided that it is ratified by the parliaments of the eight countries.

Besides Russia and Ukraine the six other signatory nations were Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Tajikistan.

Ukraine is significant because it had resisted Moscow's invitation to join it in a Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan customs union.

Ukraine has said its membership in the union would clash with its aspirations for closer trade links with the EU. But Ukraine's European ambitions suffered a blow Tuesday when Brussels postponed a Ukraine summit over the recent guilty verdict against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in a trial that some observers described as politically motivated.
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Anonymous Oct. 19, 2011, 7:18 a.m.    

Що таке руський мир? Це та ж Російська імперія в якомусь новому вигляді. Політика це чи ні? Звичайно, політика. Це використання церкви з наміром створити нову державу під керівництвом Москви. Коли Патріарх КИРИЛ приїжджає сюди і говорить про вступ України до Митного союзу - а ми знаємо, що про це він говорив під час візиту влітку, - хіба це духовність? Тому, коли він вперше приїхав до України, і його тут і президент добре прийняв, і уряду, то громадськість і ЗМІ оцінили його як політичного діяча. Він займався більше політикою, ніж духовними справами».

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Anonymous Oct. 19, 2011, 10:28 a.m.    

President of Ukraine has by this signature sealed any hope of making a free trade agreement with EU and is in viloation with the WTO agreement he already has made.

Political leadership in Ukraine has now revealed to the people what direction they want to go, despite their show and tell they have done the last year.

All this is really just creating a foundation for a so called optimal gas agreement to be made in November/December this year, and only illustrat how Ukraine has tried to pressure EU and other nations to get a deal with them parallell to following other paths.

Now we will see the real face of international bankers showing muscles by throwing away any support and calling for pay back of their loans from Ukraine.

This will put Ukraine under such a pressure that will create utter chaos in the new state.

IMF and World Bank will utilize any tools they have in their suitcase to ensure Ukraine falls back into their folds or find themselves without any hopes for the future.

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Anonymous Oct. 19, 2011, 11:25 a.m.    

Exit EU for ever.

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Anonymous Oct. 19, 2011, 11:33 p.m.    

For those who study history, this is another Pereiaslavska uhoda - a union which will only bring Ukraine tears and bondage. What a complete traitor we have at the helm. It is obvious now that this outcome is what Yanychar had planned all along. Get rid of his &quot;Trotsky&quot; (Yulia) and at the same time seal us into a deal with his Muscovite masters.

Shevchenko is rolling in his grave.

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Anonymous Oct. 20, 2011, 12:26 a.m.    

Quote: Besides Russia and Ukraine the six other signatory nations were Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Tajikistan.

Wow an interesting mix of autocratic and third world countries.

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