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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

5-Nation Customs Union Deal Signed

The leaders of a customs union made up of Russia and four other former Soviet states signed an agreement Tuesday pledging to continue coordinating their tax, trade and customs policies.

President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were joined at the one-day meeting of the customs union by the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said trade between the customs union members had increased by 88 percent.

Trade between members of the larger Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose affiliation of former Soviet republics, had risen by only 8 percent, he said, Interfax reported.

The participants agreed to work on harmonizing their nations' relevant legislation and smoothing the functioning of a common market in goods, services, capital and manpower, Itar-Tass reported.