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02 December 2021, 11:31

CIS expected to sign agreement on free trade in services in spring 2022

MOSCOW, 2 December (BelTA) – The CIS is expected to sign an agreement on free trade in services and on investments in the spring of 2022, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the CIS Economic Council Igor Petrishenko stated at a meeting of the CIS Economic Council, BelTA has learned.

In the year of Belarus' chairmanship in the CIS, the organization paid particular attention to the development of the common economic space, facilitation of trade and economic cooperation, liberalization of mutual trade. Work was continued to reduce the number of restrictions and exemptions from free trade in goods, unify the rules and procedures for public procurement, and develop the common markets for certain types of products. "Active work on the draft agreement on free trade in services and on investments also continued. Unfortunately, despite the efforts made, this year we were not able to sign the agreement, but I hope that we will do it next spring. I believe this will be facilitated by the relevant protocol adopted at the 12 November meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of Government and the resolution that we are planning to sign today," Igor Petrishenko said.

According to him, just as important was the work to implement the agreed measures in technical regulation, standardization, metrology, conformity assessment and accreditation, as this work is meant to ensure safety, quality and competitiveness of products in the CIS countries. Good results were largely attributed to convergence of multi-level integration processes in the CIS, including the harmonization of the CIS documents with the regulatory framework of the Eurasian Economic Union.

In addition to that, during Belarus' chairmanship, measures were taken at all levels to increase the efficiency of the CIS inter-sectoral bodies. These bodies sought to boost investment, intensify cooperation, find new and make the most of existing common points of economic growth. “Humanitarian contacts also remained on our agenda. We kept working to expand cooperation in science, education, healthcare, culture, sports, tourism. This greatly contributes to maintaining friendly and good-neighborly relations in our region,” the chairman of the CIS Economic Council.

“The consolidation of efforts to minimize the spread of the coronavirus infection and its consequences is an example of successful cooperation between our countries this year. Unfortunately, the global pandemic is not slowing down. Therefore, we need to keep up the level of joint counteraction to this global challenge and develop an additional package of joint measures, focusing on such issues as the global rise in food and commodity prices, and the shortage of high-tech goods,” Igor Petrishenko said.

The participants of the meeting are considering a number of important documents aimed at further economic development of the CIS. They include a draft agreement on free trade in services, a plan of priority measures to implement the strategy of information security for the period of up to 2030, quality of life standards and a number of others. “As for the quality of life standards, I am convinced that the adoption of this document is an important step in ensuring the sustainable development of the CIS member states. The CIS countries took a special approach to this issue. Although the quality of life standards will be recommendatory in nature, this will only make such a new instrument of social policy more flexible. I believe that this document will help ensure basic social guarantees and rights of people in the CIS,” the chairman of the CIS Economic Council added.

He stressed that Belarus made every effort to implement the concept and events of its CIS presidency plan. “Despite well-known difficulties of the past period we are on schedule to fulfill the set goals,” Igor Petrishenko said.

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