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Israel Hopes to Reach Free Trade Zone With Eurasian Economic Union by 2018

© AP Photo / Maxim Shipenkov, poolGeneral view of the Eurasian Economic Union summit in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia. File photo
General view of the Eurasian Economic Union summit in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia. File photo - Sputnik International
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Israel expects to launch formal negotiations with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) early next year and reach a deal to create a free trade zone, the co-chair of the Russian-Israeli trade commission said Wednesday.

TEL AVIV (Sputnik) – The decision to launch negotiations with Israel was reached at an October 16 EEU summit of Russian, Armenian, Belarusian, Kazakh and Kyrgyz leaders.

"We offer the Russian side to begin negotiations in early 2016 and conduct at least two rounds of talks in 2016…As a rule at a normal pace, such an agreement can be signed within two years," Zeev Elkin said.

Elkin said the timetable of reaching the deal depends on the complexity of issues faced during negotiations, but noted that Tel Aviv is actively working to kick off talks as soon as possible.

"We believe that it has great potential for the Israeli economy, and for the countries of the [EEU]. I believe there is no reason to delay this," Elkin stressed.

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Israel is assessed to increase trade turnover with EEU members by 6-8 percent, while Russia stands to benefit in activating a mutual investment and technology transfer process.

Elkin is expected to attend the annual Joint Russian-Israeli Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation in Moscow on Wednesday alongside Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

The Israeli official occupies three posts of minister of immigration absorption, Jerusalem affairs and strategic affairs.

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