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CIS agreement on free trade in services may be signed in 2018

Economy 12.12.2017 | 15:28
Vladimir Makei and Sergei Lebedev
Vladimir Makei and Sergei Lebedev

MINSK, 12 December (BelTA) – The CIS agreement on free trade in services may be signed in 2018, Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee, CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev said at the CIS Plenipotentiaries Council meeting on 12 December, BelTA has learned.

According to Sergei Lebedev, the draft agreement on free trade in services in the CIS is currently finalized. “It is not an easy task, but the process is in full swing. The next meeting of the working group is scheduled for 20-21 December 2017. It should be acknowledged, though, that there are delays in the negotiations on the matter. Experts are still unable to resolve differences in what concerns investments and restrictions, and financial services in general. However, taking into account the generally positive momentum in the preparation of the document, there is every reason to believe that the agreement will be signed next year,” the chairman of the Executive Committee said.

In 2017 the Russian Federation completes its presidency in the CIS. According to Sergei Lebedev, it has become effective. In the economic sector, active work was carried out to implement the final third stage of the CIS Economic Development Strategy. Main attention was focused on the implementation of the free trade area agreement and the removal of existing trade barriers, simplification of procedures and rules for the movement of goods and services. “The theme is relevant, and it was repeatedly raised during the meetings of the CIS supreme bodies. The decline in foreign trade that was observed in the CIS for the last few years has finally transformed into growth. We can say today that the mutual trade in the CIS soared almost 25% in the first half of the year, which exceeded $75 billion in monetary terms. Foreign trade went up by almost 27%,” the chairman of the Executive Committee stated.

Apart from that, positive results were achieved in all areas of humanitarian partnership. A number of joint projects were implemented in youth policy, the development of scientific, educational, cultural and information areas, strengthening cooperation in health, migration, sports and tourism. Further development was given to the legal framework and mechanisms for joint counteraction to crime, modern challenges and threats, securing stability and security in the CIS.

“Tajikistan is taking over the presidency in the CIS for 2018. The concept of Tajikistan's presidency in the CIS envisages a wide range of activities aimed at deepening cooperation and activating integration processes. The approaches defined by the concept will be supported and implemented with an active participation of all the CIS member states,” Sergei Lebedev said.

In his words, Minsk will host the next meeting of the CIS Foreign Ministers Council on 6 April 2018.

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