Over 30 countries want to join Customs Union's free trade regime - official

The Eurasian Economic Commission's Trade Minister Andrei Slepnev said many countries are interested in joining a free trade regime with the Customs Union.

The Eurasian Economic Commission's Trade Minister Andrei Slepnev said many countries are interested in joining a free trade regime with the Customs Union.

"More than 30 countries wish to join this regime. But we handle this problem with great care given our obligations to the World Trade Organization and the risks to our market," Slepnev told reporters on Friday in Minsk, where a regular round of talks is being held between the Customs Union members and Vietnam on the formation of a free trade zone.

"The Customs Union's position is that we see a free trade agreement as an important but not the only way of enhancing cooperation with Vietnam to a qualitatively new level, and through Vietnam, with ASEAN," the minister said.

"In addition to trade and duties, we must necessarily discuss concrete projects. Vietnam traditionally makes a wide range of consumer goods. Access to the Customs Union market will understandably bring it many benefits," he said.

"Our goods are more complex - machines, investment projects in extraction sectors, where we need to make a complex decision. Therefore, our approach is complex," Slepnev said.

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