MINSK, 28 September (BelTA) – CIS economic cooperation is of crucial importance in turbulent times, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko said at the international scientific conference "30 Years of the Commonwealth of Independent States: Results and prospects", BelTA has learned.
"The CIS is a regional organization recognized by the international community, with a great practical content and many areas of cooperation in the interests of the participating countries. The CIS has preserved close human contacts and exchange, trusting political relations and multifaceted economic ties, and kept a focus on further integration, and this is one of its key achievements. The free trade zone, which provides favorable conditions for the economic development of our countries, has grown of particular importance,” Igor Petrishenko said. “Given the continuous turbulence in the world, cooperation of complementary economies of the CIS countries has become crucial. This is confirmed by the dynamics of mutual trade and investment cooperation in the CIS. Thanks to the measures taken in the CIS, the national efforts of the member states, the mutual trade in the CIS surged by 26.7% in H1 2021.”
Belarus is presiding over the CIS in the year of its 30th anniversary. "We have picked up the following main areas concenfortrated joint activities. The first one is the further promotion of integration in the CIS. In the future, it implies the creation of a greater Eurasian zone of cooperation, by aligning the CIS integration with other regional organizations and associations, primarily the EAEU, CSTO, SCO. The second one is the advancement of the common economic space, trade and economic cooperation, and reducing the number of obstacles to the free movement of goods, services, capital and labor," the deputy prime minister said.
In January-July 2021 the GDP of the CIS countries rose by 4.4% year-on-year, industrial output by 4.2%, capital investments by 5.4%, cargo transportation by 5.4%.
The third area of cooperation, according to Igor Petrishenko, is the development of humanitarian ties, contacts in science, education, healthcare, culture, sport and tourism. "The fourth priority, which has recently become as important as those mentioned above, is the coordination of efforts in defense and international security," he added.
According to the deputy prime minister, work continues on the draft agreement on free trade in services. "We hope that we will submit the draft to the CIS supreme bodies in the near future. It will provide an additional opportunity for sustainable economic development in the interests of the CIS countries on the basis of a comprehensive free trade zone," Igor Petrishenko emphasized.
"Unfortunately, the external environment is not always favorable. Competition, bias, challenges, all kinds of restrictions are what we have to deal with and tackle together. In particular, Belarus has recently faced unprecedented pressure from the collective West under the pretext of concern for human rights. Double standards are constantly applied to our country, and we continue to bear costs, in this way or another, of the unjustified political or economic pressure. It is in such situations that it is extremely important to receive the support of friends and partners in the CIS, to demonstrate integrity, defend our key approaches and common interests, and respond to economic challenges," the deputy prime minister said.
Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko sent a welcoming address to the participants of the scientific conference. "Today's conference is expected to discuss the fundamental issues of the development of the CIS, its key drivers - science, innovative cooperation, digital transformation, interaction in the use of space and also the vital issues of healthcare, security, combating crime and terrorism. I am convinced that the conference will come up with constructive proposals on ways to strengthen the role of the CIS, to adapt it to modern realities. I am sure the results of the conference will find practical application, open up new strategic prospects for the CIS," the welcoming address says.
The international scientific conference "30 Years of the Commonwealth of Independent States: Results and prospects" has been organized by the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and the CIS Executive Committee. The conference is expected to sum up the results of the 30th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States and to draw up recommendations for improving the CIS. The event has been held with the support of the CIS Interstate Humanitarian Cooperation Fund.