Russia has signed a free-trade deal with seven other former Soviet republics that will scrap export and import tariffs on a number of goods, the BBC reports.
The agreement was announced following talks in St Petersburg. The other signature countries are Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Tajikistan.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin did not identify the goods that will be freed of export and import duties, but said the agreement will lower prices for those goods, creating better conditions for businesses among the nations and “making our economies more competitive,” The Washington Post reports, citing AP.
Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan may join by the end of the year.
The free-trade deal was signed at a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose group of 11 nations formed shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The free trade agreement now needs to be ratified by the parliaments of the eight countries who have so far signed up, before becoming effective in 2012.