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08 June 2023, 15:09

Belarusian PM hails CIS agreement on free trade in services

MINSK, 8 June (BelTA) - The heads of government of the CIS member states signed an agreement on free trade in services and investment at a meeting in Sochi. This is the result of the negotiations that lasted more than 10 years, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said, BelTA has learned.

"I would like to congratulate us on signing the agreement on free trade in services, and investment in the CIS, which puts an end to the difficult negotiations that lasted more than 10 years. This agreement will be an important addition to the CIS free trade zone. In this way, we are creating favorable conditions for our companies along the entire value chain. In our opinion, the agreement is a good one, reflects generally accepted international approaches and practices, and takes into account more advanced agreements that we have already tested within the framework of the EAEU," Roman Golovchenko said. It is also open to accession for any other state.

The Belarusian prime minister suggested the CIS Executive Committee and the CIS member states consider setting up a sectoral council for services and investments to monitor the implementation of this agreement. "This proposal organically fits into the efforts initiated by Belarus to improve the CIS sectoral cooperation bodies, primarily in economy. In our opinion, it is the sectoral councils that should generate new proposals for deepening cooperation and adopt, if necessary, effective measures, including anti-crisis ones. In our opinion, there is a need to reformat their work," he said.

The Belarusian Economy Ministry also commented on the CIS agreement on free trade in services and investments. "This is a breakthrough document, unprecedented in its content and volume. In addition to the main text, the international treaty includes individual lists of obligations and exemptions (four for each participating country). The agreement is based on the provisions of the WTO agreements and is supplemented by the approaches laid out in the EAEU Treaty in order to deepen liberalization on certain issues," the press service noted.

According to estimates, the agreement will help the CIS countries to increase trade in services by a quarter and mutual investment by 30% in the medium term.

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