Mercifully, I saved myself a few keyboard strokes (thanks a lot, procrastination) since the purported customs union application appears increasingly unlikely. While a customs union bid for WTO membership is possible in principle, it hasn't been done before. Moreover, this motley crew would not have been the ideal proponents of it for any number of reasons, not the least because of trade-related disputes Russia has with Georgia and Ukraine hindering applications by Belarus and Kazakhstan. That is, Russia's woes which they aren't party to would've been dumped on them, too. Our friends at the ICTSD have discussed the twists in turns in some detail and I believe it's best to refer to them. Let me paraphrase what has transpired:
- "£$%^ the WTO giving us trouble over South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Ukraine; it doesn't really matter. The WTO can ^&*%ing go to hell for all we care."
- "Then again, perhaps the WTO has some value despite its Western bias."
- "Given that the WTO has given us so much trouble in joining--we've been discussing this thing for 16 years now--it's time we made a joint customs union bid with our pals Belarus and Kazakhstan."
- "Erm, maybe the original solo bid wasn't so bad after all..."