The Eurasian Economic Commission intends to reduce import duties on food, medicines and children's goods amid the coronavirus situation. Lifting of the Russian counter-sanctions on Western food is out of question, Andrei Slepnev, Member of the Board (Minister) for Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission, told the media, BelTA has learned.
“Today we discussed a number of measures in response to the increased demand for essential goods: food, hygiene products, etc. Indeed, retail networks in all countries are now under increased pressure from consumers. The EEC decided that within a week it will work out the final list for goods, the tariffs on which will be temporarily zeroed out, duties reduced. This applies to foodstuffs, baby food, children's goods, a wide range of medical goods, medicines and components for their production. These are the essential goods that are in high demand now. We will finalize the lists during a week; the decision will be made in the coming days,” Andrei Slepnev said.
According to Andrei Slepnev, the EEC decision on the duty-free import of medical protective gear and medical supplies to the EAEU to help its member states combat the infection has already taken effect. “The decision envisages zero customs duties on a wide lineup of the corresponding products to improve their availability for the healthcare services,” he said.
“In general, I can say that today we had a serious discussion on a number of issues and ways to organize interaction between agencies on the principles of Eurasian solidarity so that both doctors and those responsible for the commodity networks should be in contact. Authorized persons were also identified so that this interaction could be implemented,” the EEC minister said.
When asked whether any relaxation of the Russian counter-sanctions against Western food products had been discussed, Andrei Slepnev said: “This issue was not discussed. In any case, it is a decision that should be taken by Russia, since it has introduced the appropriate measures. This issue is not within the EEC's competence.”
The meeting of the EEC Council chaired by Belarus' Vice Premier Igor Petrishenko was held in the format of a videoconference.