In the context of time

[b]Dear readers,[/b] Most of you are likely to receive this issue of the magazine in 2010, so I’d like to wish you prosperity, success and happiness in the New Year.Of course, time marches inexorably onward. Let’s look at the events of 2009. We prepared our articles in December, and a range of important political meetings, economic forums and cultural festivals are to follow.The presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia have announced the creation of the Customs Union of our three countries. The author of Favourable Space writes that 2009 will go down in the history of integration, alongside the year of the foundation of the CIS. Moreover, Minsk is directly involved in this life-changing event…
Dear readers,
Most of you are likely to receive this issue of the magazine in 2010, so I’d like to wish you prosperity, success and happiness in the New Year.
Of course, time marches inexorably onward. Let’s look at the events of 2009. We prepared our articles in December, and a range of important political meetings, economic forums and cultural festivals are to follow.
The presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia have announced the creation of the Customs Union of our three countries. The author of Favourable Space writes that 2009 will go down in the history of integration, alongside the year of the foundation of the CIS. Moreover, Minsk is directly involved in this life-changing event…
The National Library, which traditionally hosts summits, housed a session of the EurAsEC Interstate Council. The presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russian (three out of five member states of this organisation) adopted a number of principal decisions, ensuring the launch of the Customs Union from January 1st 2010. To be exact, a common customs tariff is being introduced from January 1st; its formation is being delegated to a supranational body — the Customs Unions Commission. In six months’ time, from July 1st, the customs territory of our three countries will be operational.
How will our countries benefit from this Customs Union? The Dean of the Belarusian State University’s Economic Department, Mikhail Kovalev, shares his views with us, noting that the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia is a significant event, in More Than a Matter of Quorum. He looks at who will benefit, and how, while analysing the situation objectively.
According to the expert, firstly, the Customs Union is beneficial to foreign investors. Adopting decisions to open manufacture, they’ll be able to have confidence that their products will move freely between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan — without duties or restrictions. Around 165 million people live within our three states, offering an interesting market.
Secondly, the Customs Union is beneficial to those participating in export-import operations between Customs Union countries and other states, especially in transactions with the EU.
Specialists assure us that Belarus will find many advantages within the Customs Union. The owners of European cargoes will prefer to see one control and customs clearance ‘window’ at the border, releasing them from the hassle of double controls when transiting, for example via Ukraine.
Mr. Kovalev believes that the single customs tariff will also strengthen the economies of Customs Union member countries, giving them greater competitive edge over imports.
The end of the year saw many major events. Privileges for Partnership is dedicated to Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi’s first ever official visit to Minsk. The Head of the Italian Cabinet of Ministers’ trip enabled the Belarusian President to say that our two countries are ‘opening a new stage of partnership, which relies on mutually respectful, sincere and interested dialogue’. During the visit, a range of documents were signed — most tackling the economic sphere. Afterwards, Alexander Lukashenko said that ‘Italy is a privileged partner for us in Europe’.
Undoubtedly, the European context of the event is vital. We explore it in Rome-Minsk: a Two-Way Road, by Vladimir Ulakhovich, Director of BSU’s Centre for International Studies. He refers to successful Italian business in Belarus and our two countries’ intentions to strengthen bilateral trade. The article pays special attention to the human factor in collaboration. Around 300 Italian charities are involved in humanitarian works, hosting Belarusian children affected by the Chernobyl catastrophe. Their success relies on the kindness and empathy of our fellow human beings, for which we are sincerely grateful.
Once again, I wish you all that is good for 2010. Live life to the full, like centenarian Nikolay Nelga; One-Hundred-Percent Life is dedicated to him.
BY Viktor Kharkov,
magazine editor
Беларусь. Belarus
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