The speaker of the lower house of Russia's parliament, the State Duma, said on Monday a customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan would boost economic growth in the three countries and could raise their GDP by 14-15% by 2015.
The presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed a package of deals on November 27 to create a customs union with common tariffs, paving the way for a single economic space.
In line with the agreement, the three countries began using common customs tariffs on January 1.
Boris Gryzlov said the introduction of common customs tariffs was the "most visible and real step towards the integration of the three countries."
"We are convinced that it [the integration] benefits both Russia and its partners," he said.
Gryzlov said the customs union would impede investments in the creation of new and the modernization of existing businesses in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
"According to expert estimates, it could provide the countries with a significant effect: additional GDP growth will reach 14-15%," he said.
The countries' aggregate GDP is $2 trillion, and their trade turnover is estimated at $900 billion.
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are planning to introduce a common customs space in July 2010 and form a single economic space in January 2012.
The customs union will bring Russia an additional $400 billion in revenue and over $16 billion to Kazakhstan and Belarus.
The union could help the countries take key positions on the global energy and grain markets.
MOSCOW, January 4 (RIA Novosti)