EEU to start free trade zone talks with Damascus after Syria crisis ends

The  Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Syria will start talks on a common free trade regime after the end of the country’s civil war and internal violence, a representative of the union’s regulatory body said Tuesday, Sputnik reports.

Syria’s Prime Minister Wael Nader Halqi told Sputnik earlier in the day his country was considering membership in the EEU with its free customs zone. Syria has been torn apart by a civil war since Arab Spring uprisings ripped through the region in 2011. According to the UN, the humanitarian crisis is currently the world’s most severe, with over 220,000 people killed and over 11 million displaced.

The representative from the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) told RIA Novosti that Syria had already finalized consultations with the four EEU member states.

“Consultations have been concluded. All EEU countries were very positive about the proposal [to create an EEU-Syria free trade zone]. We are anxious to have the political situation in Syria stabilized to go ahead with negotiations.”

The Eurasian Economic Union is aimed at streamlining the movement of goods, services, capital and labor between Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. The government of Kyrgyzstan has recently signed an accession treaty but the motion has yet to be ratified by all member states.

Syrian Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Humam Jazaeri spoke about his country’s readiness to join the EEU in early 2015.