Kyrgyzstan is on track to become the fourth member of the Customs Union on January 1, 2015, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced May 29.
Speaking in Astana after a meeting of the Customs Union's governing body, Nazarbayev said that a roadmap for Kyrgyzstan's accession is currently being drawn up. "We have supported their intention and adopted this decision. An agreement has been reached that experts will prepare the necessary documents by the fall, so that we can approve them at the next Supreme Council meeting," Nazarbayev said May 29.
Entry in January 2015 means that Kyrgyzstan would join the union, founded by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, at the same time as the Eurasian Economic Union is launched. Until then, Kyrgyzstan will have observer status with the Eurasian Economic Commission and other Customs Union organisations, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said, Interfax reported.
Ukraine will also have observer status with the Customs Union, with documentation due to be prepared by autumn 2013.
Kyrgyzstan has been working towards Customs Union membership since shortly after the trade body's launch, as tighter regulations at the border of its main trading partner Kazakhstan have since caused a contraction in several sectors of the economy.
Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev said in an interview with Itar-Tass in April that the country hoped the roadmap would be ready by autumn 2013, paving the way for accession by the end of this year. However, Atambaev later acknowledged that accession by 2015 was more likely.
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