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EEC Extraordinary Council discussed response measures to coronavirus pandemic

EEC Extraordinary Council discussed response measures to coronavirus pandemic

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3/25/2020

An extraordinary meeting of the EEC Council held on March 25 was devoted to the Eurasian Economic Union’s response to spreading coronavirus infection and developing joint response measures.

"We proceed from the fact that we have a single market. We have agreed to adopt coordinated decisions on all issues related to the single market. The sides will consult and find the tools required. As a result, our Union will demonstrate its viability not only in halcyon days, but also in rocky times, which is probably a matter of principle now", - Andrey Slepnev, Member of the Board – EEC Minister in charge of Trade, stated following the EEC Council’s meeting.

The EEC Minister has informed that the Eurasian Economic Commission adopted a decision on duty-free import to the EAEU territory of personal protective equipment, medical equipment required for the infection control. The decision involves zeroing customs duties on a wide range of products, which will increase the availability of appropriate means for the Union countries’ doctors and healthcare institutions.

Furthermore, the EEC has decided to prohibit exporting a wide range of personal protective equipment outside the EAEU. The decision is required to have a reliable balance on masks, glasses, individual suits for doctors and other nomenclature; have no risk of excessive export of such goods outside the EAEU. "So much for the blanket prohibition. Today we have also discussed the national decisions being in effect. An agreement was reached to hold consultations of interested authorities to resolve issues if any Union country suffers from shortage as well as to address requests for mutual supplies and humanitarian aid", - Andrey Slepnev noted.

The Council’s meeting has discussed a range of issues being a response to higher demand in stores for essential goods, food and hygiene products. "Indeed, retail chains in our countries are now experiencing increased pressure from consumers. The decision was made to finalize, within a week, the list of goods for temporary zeroing of tariff protection measures and reduction of duties. This pertains to foods, infant food, and a broad range of medicinal products, pharmaceuticals and components for their production. That is essential goods with higher demand noted indeed at present. We will finalize all these lists and adopt a decision in the next few days”, - Andrey Slepnev told.

The EEC Minister also reported that in general, "an honest conversation was held on specific decisions and organizing interaction between authorities on the principles of the Eurasian solidarity. Authorized contact persons have been identified to ensure full contact of doctors and those who are responsible for providing commodity networks, so that this interaction, mutual assistance and advice can be implemented in practical terms as soon as possible".

The EEC Council has also considered issues related to the movement of transport infrastructure personnel, car drivers who deliver goods and other personnel. In this regard, the sides have been instructed to elaborate mechanisms required for smooth and uninterrupted functioning of the commodity distribution network.

The issue of moving citizens who come back home to their countries in transit through other EAEU States was discussed as well. "This is, indeed, a day-to-day work of our headquarters. Specific situations may, of course, arise and it is unavoidable. But they are quickly resolved", - the EEC Minister stressed.​