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Context

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State

September 10, 2021 in the hero city of Minsk took place meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State.

The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation M.V. Mishustin and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus R.A. Golovchenko held the meeting in an atmosphere of friendship, mutual understanding and trust, which is traditional for allied relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.

The exceptional importance of building up an active bilateral dialogue on deepening trade and economic cooperation, increasing the effectiveness of coordinated joint actions in all areas in order to improve the well-being of the fraternal peoples of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus was emphasized.

Following the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, the Main Directions for the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State for 2021–2023 and 28 Union Programs aimed at implementing large-scale tasks to strengthen Russian-Belarusian integration were approved.

Union programs provide for the following main directions of Union construction.

1. Macroeconomic policy convergence

An agreement was reached on the synchronization of strategic management in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus in terms of macroeconomic policy and the formation of official statistical information.

The harmonization of the legislation of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus in this area will create a basis for joint support of small and medium-sized businesses, streamline the consideration of situations in the field of insolvency and bankruptcy.

2. Harmonization of monetary policy and macroprudential regulation

An agreement was reached until December 2022 to conclude an agreement between the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus on the principles and mechanisms for harmonizing monetary policy.

The implementation of the agreement will be aimed at achieving a comparable and consistently low inflation rate, creating similar financial conditions for business entities in both countries.

3. Harmonization of foreign exchange regulation and foreign exchange controls

The parties agreed to harmonize the rules for opening bank accounts by residents in non-resident banks, conducting foreign exchange transactions, as well as requirements for the repatriation of foreign exchange earnings.

4. Harmonization of requirements in the field of information security in the financial sector

The parties agreed to harmonize approaches to ensuring information security, create a mechanism for mutual recognition of audit results in the field of information security, use means of cross-border integrity control and confirmation of authenticity in the exchange of electronic information.

5. Harmonization of regulations for credit and non-credit financial institutions, as well as the financial market in general, including ensuring the creation of uniform principles of deposit insurance

The parties agreed to harmonize the regulation of the financial market, in particular, leasing organizations and microfinance institutions, as well as the mutual admission of banking and insurance organizations to the financial markets of the Union State.

6. Harmonization of requirements in the field of combating money laundering and financial terrorism (AML / CFT) for the financial sector

An agreement was reached between the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus on the harmonization of the legislation of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus in the field of AML / CFT for the financial sector and the implementation of joint activities in this area.

7. Integration of payment systems in the field of national payment card systems, systems for transferring financial messages and settlements, implementation of the international standard for financial messages ISO 20022, fast payment systems, development of financial technologies, harmonized approaches in the field of supervision and monitoring of payment systems

The parties agreed to improve the mechanisms for cross-border exchange of financial information between Russian and Belarusian credit institutions and legal entities, as well as develop cooperation on issues of fast payments, transfer of financial messages and settlements, supervision of participants in the payment services market, and the development of financial technologies.

8. Harmonization of requirements in the field of protection of the rights of consumers of financial services and investors, as well as prevention of unfair practices in the financial market

The parties agreed to develop proposals for the harmonization of the legislation of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus in order to ensure the provision of an equal amount of protection of rights to consumers of financial services using the same financial services.

9. Integration of information systems of state regulatory bodies for the traceability of goods

The parties agreed on the synchronization of approaches to the operation of the traceability mechanism, the implementation of the integration of information systems to automate the exchange of data, which will ensure control over the circulation of goods subject to traceability.

10. Integration of information systems for product labeling

The parties agreed to unify approaches to legal regulation and technical support for mandatory labeling of goods with identification means, to synchronize the work required for mutual recognition of identification means in order to provide unimpeded access to the marked goods market.

11. Harmonization of tax and customs legislation and cooperation in the customs sphere

In the tax and customs spheres, the parties agreed to conclude international treaties on general principles of taxation on indirect taxes and on deepening interaction between customs authorities, to introduce an integrated system for administering indirect taxes of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, to create a joint advisory body – the Union State Committee on Tax Issues.

Approaches to maintaining statistics of mutual trade, systems for categorizing participants in foreign economic activity and the institution of authorized economic operators will be harmonized.

12. Integration of information systems of state regulatory bodies in terms of veterinary and quarantine phytosanitary control

The parties agreed to integrate information systems in order to automate the process of data exchange on issued certificates of quarantine phytosanitary control (supervision). Traceability of controlled goods and regulated products will be ensured, which will increase the efficiency of quarantine phytosanitary and veterinary control (supervision) and speed up the movement of goods and vehicles across the state border. The Parties will ensure traceability of all livestock and plant products.

13. Integration of information systems of transport control of state regulatory authorities

The parties agreed to develop software that allows the exchange of data based on the results of transport control on the territory of the two states, which will increase the transparency and safety of road transport.

14. Unification of regulation of the transport market

In the field of air transport, equal tariff conditions will be implemented for the provision of airport and air navigation services, as well as restrictions on frequency and unification of airworthiness regulation will be lifted.

In the field of railway transport, it is envisaged to work out the unification of legislation, including tariff regulation, licensing, the organization of passenger and freight traffic, security, requirements in the field of labor relations.

In the field of water transport, it is planned to sail vessels under the Russian and Belarusian flags on the inland waterways of the parties according to unified rules.

In the field of road transport, an agreement will be concluded on unauthorized transport.

In the field of road facilities, general legislative norms will be prepared in terms of the classification of roads, requirements for the implementation of road activities, road safety, the placement of road service facilities, and the implementation of control and supervision activities.

15. Formation of a unified gas market

The parties agreed to coordinate actions regarding the formation of prices for Russian gas for the Belarusian Party for 2022, as well as the development of principles for the functioning and regulation of the unified gas market of the Union State (by July 2022).

By December 1, 2023, it is planned to sign an addendum to the Union Program, which defines the basic principles of functioning and regulation of the unified gas market, as well as the timing of their implementation based on the movement towards convergence of business conditions in the gas sector relative to the current level.

16. Formation of united markets for oil and oil products

The parties agreed to adopt an international agreement on the unification of the oil and oil product markets of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus and the harmonization of national legislation.

17. Formation of a unified electricity market

The parties agreed to sign an interstate agreement on the formation of a unified electricity market and the rules for the functioning of this market, providing for the harmonization of the laws of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, and also outlined a trajectory for the implementation of the principles of deeper integration of the electricity markets of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.

18. Development of nuclear energy

The parties agreed by the end of 2023 to ensure the unification of legislation in the areas of operation of nuclear power facilities, regulation of radiation safety, emergency preparedness and response, management of nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.

19. Formation of a unified agricultural policy

The parties agreed to approximate legislation in the field of agriculture in order to increase the volume of mutual trade in agricultural products, remove administrative barriers, ensure food security and joint scientific and technological development of agriculture.

20. Formation of a unified industrial policy

The parties agreed to stimulate the development of joint ventures, as well as to pursue a unified policy to support production and sales. It is envisaged to eliminate economic and technical barriers in the production of industrial products in order to increase the transparency of bilateral trade and increase the turnover.

21. Introduction of uniform rules for access to government orders and government purchases

The parties agreed to harmonize legislation in the field of ensuring equal access to government orders and government purchases, as well as in the field of government (municipal) procurement regulation. An agreement was reached to use bank guarantees issued by Belarusian banks for state purchases in Russia, and to remove restrictions on access to state (municipal) purchases.

22. Uniform rules in the field of consumer protection

The parties agreed to conclude by December 31, 2022, an intergovernmental agreement on Unified rules in the field of consumer protection in the Union State.

23. Uniform competition rules

The parties agreed to approve common approaches to the formation and implementation of competition rules on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement, which will determine uniform competition rules, including the powers of the antimonopoly authority in terms of the possibility of assigning unscheduled inspections and examinations.

24. Unification of requirements for the organization and implementation of trading activities

The parties agreed to adopt regulatory legal acts that ensure uniform requirements in the field of trade and public catering regulation, as well as harmonize legislation in this area.

25. Formation of uniform principles of functioning of a single market of communications and informatization

The parties agreed to develop new and update existing intergovernmental, interdepartmental and other agreements in the field of communications and informatization, to unify legislation in the field of postal communications, to build a communications network infrastructure, as well as to abolish roaming on the territory of the Union State. It is envisaged to harmonize the use of electronic documents and electronic signatures, as well as the provision of public services in electronic form.

26. Unification of accounting regulation and preparation of accounting (financial) statements

The parties agreed to create conditions for the circulation of comparable consolidated financial statements of business entities, on the formation of an information base for expanding foreign economic, investment and business ties, on the entry of business entities into international capital markets, as well as on the access of interested parties to the financial statements of business entities.

27. Unification of legislation in the field of tourism activities

The parties agreed to harmonize tourism development strategies, norms for the activities of guides and guides-translators, and create general rules for informing about the standardization of the quality of hotel services.

The guarantees provided to tourists for the provision of tourist services, the requirements for conducting tourist activities in terms of the financial responsibility of the tour operator will be unified, as well as protection of the rights of the tourist will be ensured if the tour operator cannot fulfill its obligations to provide tourist services.

28. Conducting a coordinated policy in the social and labor sphere

The parties agreed to develop common approaches to harmonize legislation in terms of labor relations and labor protection, employment, social insurance and pensions, support for families with children, social services and social support for certain categories of citizens.

At a meeting of the Council of Ministers, the draft Decree of the Supreme State Council of the Union State on the approval of the Main Directions for the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State for 2021–2023 and Union programs was approved.

The Heads of Government note that the destructive actions of a number of Western states and structures that are contrary to international law prevent the positive development of the Union State, the strengthening of national economies, and the solution of social tasks vital for the citizens of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. In this regard, we agreed on joint actions in the context of the application of illegitimate economic sanctions against the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.

The Russian and Belarusian sides also note their firm intention not to stop at what has been achieved, to build up joint efforts to deepen the integration processes within the framework of the Union building. The implementation of all the fundamental provisions of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State of December 8, 1999, aimed at strengthening the integration of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, will continue.

The heads of government agreed to continue work to harmonize integration processes within the framework of multilateral associations, primarily the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Eurasian Economic Union, including in order to form the Greater Eurasian Partnership and a single economic space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

The Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus are stepping up their efforts to develop and implement agreed approaches to further deepening cooperation in the fields of education, healthcare, science, sports and culture.

The heads of government note that direct partnerships between regions are becoming an increasingly important factor in strengthening mutual trust and economic cooperation. In this regard, every possible support will be provided to the holding of the annual Forums of the regions of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.

The Government of the Russian Federation and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus intend to ensure the effective implementation of the agreements reached in order to further deepen allied relations between the two states, promote their sustainable development and protect the interests of the two countries in the international arena.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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