Belarus Signs Up to Russian-Led Customs Union Amid $1Bln Credit Deal

April 14, 2017 — 12:30
— Update: Apr. 14 2017 — 10:13

Belarus Signs Up to Russian-Led Customs Union Amid $1Bln Credit Deal

April 14, 2017 — 12:30
— Update: Apr. 14 2017 — 10:13
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Kremlin Press Service

Belarus has signed the Eurasian Economic Union’s (EEU) controversial Customs Code after months of legal wrangling.

The document was just one of a number of agreements signed by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday, the Belta news agency reported.

As well as setting out trade tariffs between EEU member countries, the documents also outline trade deals with countries such as Iran, India, Singapore, Egypt.

Lukashenko saw relations between Moscow and Minsk sour when he refused to sign the document at the end of 2016. He complained that some parts of the code simply "did not work" and withdrew the country's specialists from working on the project. 

A breakthrough was finally announced on April 3, when Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Lukashenko in St. Petersburg.

The talks were followed by the announcement that Moscow would refinance Belarusian debt worth $750-800 million and give the country $1 billion in credit.

The  EEU Customs Code replaces the Customs Code of the Customs Union, which Belarus adopted in 2009. The new agreement is expected to come into force on July 1, 2017.