20 Oct 2011

Trade deal signed by Russia and ex-Soviet republics

7:36 am on 20 October 2011

Russia has signed a free trade deal with seven other former Soviet republics that will scrap export and import tariffs on a number of goods.

The agreement was announced following talks in St Petersburg. Other signature countries are: Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Tajikistan.

No details have yet been revealed about what goods will be included.

Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan may join by the end of the year.

The BBC reports the agreement now needs to be ratified by the parliaments of the eight countries, before becoming effective in 2012.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia said the move would make their collective economies "more competitive".