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Russia, Kazakhstan to set up customs union

Russia, Kazakhstan to set up customs union

Russia and Kazakhstan have agreed to establish a customs union effective July 1.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says the union will proceed without Belarus, which has taken part in negotiations but has differences over export tariffs on crude oil and oil products.
Putin said Friday that Russia and Kazakhstan are prepared to join the World Trade Organization together if Belarus fails to sign onto the new customs union. Previous talks on forming a three-way union hit snags over disagreements involving oil tariffs and automobile imports.
A customs union is an agreement under which a group of countries charges a common set of tariffs to the rest of the world while allowing free trade among themselves.