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Draft agreement on free trade in services in CIS possibly ready by late 2017

Economy 17.03.2017 | 18:50

MINSK, 17 March (BelTA) – The text of the document on free trade in services in the Commonwealth of Independent States may be approved by the end of the year, BelTA learned from Viktor Guminsky, First Deputy Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee, First Deputy Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

According to the source, when the CIS free trade zone agreement was signed in October 2011, the heads of government of the CIS member states also decided in favor of preparing a draft agreement on free trade in services. “Work on the document proceeds vigorously although it is anything but simple. The sides have determined the structure of the document and have confirmed the intention to come up with a WTO+ format in the end. In other words, the CIS member states will get more preferential access to each other's markets than what WTO member states will get,” said Viktor Guminsky.

A number of issues have been unearthed since then. They are related to the effect the free trade in services agreement will have on financial services, labor activity and presence of natural persons, on the establishment and operation of corporations, and on investments. “Progress in preparing the draft agreement has been repeatedly reviewed during sessions of the CIS Economic Council and the CIS Heads of Government Council. The latest session of the working group in Chisinau was very productive. The work will continue in May. There are reasons to believe that an approved text of the draft document we are talking about will become available by the end of the year,” said Viktor Guminsky.

The official also reminded that the sphere of services includes a broad range of types of economic activities. Those are trade, transport, communications, utility services, public catering, hotel business, tourism, insurance, banking services, science, education, healthcare, culture and art, engineering services, information and consulting services, real estate operations, civil engineering services, and other ones.

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