Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Monday ratifying an agreement on a free-trade zone between the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Republic of Serbia.

The agreement, which was signed in Moscow on October 25, 2019, forms the basic rules of trade between the member states of the EEU and Serbia, in accordance with the norms of the World Trade Organization. In July, the ratification of the free-trade zone agreement was approved by the Russian government.

Including Serbia in the free-trade zone of the EEU could open up new opportunities for development of business links, Putin said earlier. Russia and Serbia are strengthening cooperation, particularly regarding transportation infrastructure, he added. Both also want to improve banking cooperation.

A trade bloc established in 2015, the EEU is based on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. The union was later joined by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. In 2016, Vietnam officially became the first non-regional country to join the bloc. The union is designed to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital, and workers between member countries.

More than 50 countries and international organizations, including China, Indonesia, Jordan, Thailand, and some South American countries, have expressed interest in a free-trade deal with the EEU. Talks with Egypt, Israel, and Argentina are currently underway.

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