Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2012

The Eurasian Customs Union: Friend or Foe of the EU?

Olga Shumylo-Tapiola

October 2012

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


The customs union formed by Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan in 2010—the largest in the world by territory—is becoming very real. Though hurdles remain, member states are eliminating non-tariff barriers to trade within the union, moving toward a common external tariff, and fine-tuning a joint customs code. As the customs union’s influence on the world stage and in Europe’s neighborhood is likely to increase, the European Union (EU) should attempt to understand the project and find ways to protect its own interests.