Lukashenka, Nazarbaev, and Akaev hailed Yeltsin’s consent to a joint decision, effective January 1, to levy value-added taxes on exports in the country of destination, rather than in the country of origin. The three presidents hope to see a substantial rise in their countries’ exports to Russia as a result of this decision. In a parting shot as outgoing CU Interstate Council chairman, Lukashenka said that "Moscow had been the main stumbling block" in the path of approving this proposal. Nazarbaev for his part said he expected yesterday’s decision to reverse the 30 percent drop in Kazakh-Russian trade recorded in the first half of 1997, mainly due to a decline of Kazakhstani exports to Russia. This appears to have been the only practical decision with tangible effects reached at this summit, provided it is implemented as envisaged. (Russian agencies, October 22)
Moscow for its part will be able to hold out this concession to certain other CIS member countries as an incentive for joining the Customs Union. The sole candidate thus far, however, is Tajikistan, which has a basket-case economy. The four presidents decided to postpone consideration of Tajikistan’s application into next year.
Presidents of CIS Countries Affirm Independence.