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08 June 2017, 12:23

Sivak: CEI may launch common Eurasian transport network initiative

MINSK, 8 June (BelTA) – The Central European Initiative (CEI) may become an initiator of the common Eurasian transport network, Belarus' Transport and Communications Minister Anatoly Sivak said at the ministerial conference on connectivity and compatibility in the region of the Central European Initiative “Wider Connectivity in the CEI Region: Building Bridges between Europe and Asia” in relation to the Belt and Road Initiative on 8 June, BelTA has learned.

“There is a need to coordinate the development of international transport networks on the Eurasian space. China's Belt and Road initiative will promote it on a global scale. However, its implementation can proceed in various directions. An initiative to align the networks of the EU and the EAEU can be one of them, taking into account the location of Belarus. Such a network may unify information systems and security conditions, create an opportunity for a barrier-free movement of transport vehicles. The CEI may play a role of the initiator of this novation in the transport infrastructure development,” the minister stressed.

Anatoly Sivak noted that plans of international organizations on the development of transport networks are mainly of local character. For instance, the TEN-T network aims at addressing transport tasks in the EU. The networks of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union address their regional problems. “We believe that the division of transport networks using the country and regional principle does not help eliminate barriers and bottlenecks. This is agreed by many producers of transport services. They are not always orient on traditional corridors and routes and try to find ways to reduce transportation costs,” he explained.

The minister called on the CEI member states to unite efforts to promote the sustainable development of transport and its infrastructure. This will help eliminate the barriers to trade flows and will have a positive impact on the development of the economies of those states. “I am sure that the Ministerial Conference will be the catalyst and help us solve many urgent tasks. Hosting the conference on relationships and compatibility in the CEI region is a landmark event for our country. We see it as a unique platform to discuss the present-day issues in the field of transport and infrastructure,” he said.

Anatoly Sivak pointed out that Belarus is part of more than 10 international organizations on transport. One of them is the UN Economic Commission for Europe that develops the basis of international law in the field of transport. “The country has joined 23 major multilateral conventions and agreements in the field of road, air, rail, water transport and transport infrastructure. This enabled us to harmonize our transport legislation with international norms and rules,” he explained.

The minister also said that to ensure export/import cargo and passenger international transportation, Belarus has signed 45 bilateral agreements, including 17 with CEI countries, and 47 in the field of civil aviation. This has greatly expanded the geography of international transport.

On 8 June Minsk plays host to the ministerial conference on connectivity and compatibility in the region of the Central European Initiative “Wider Connectivity in the CEI Region: Building Bridges between Europe and Asia” in relation to the Belt and Road Initiative. Thematic panel discussions are focused on the modernization of transport and logistics infrastructure in the context of the EU strategies for the development of trans-European transport corridors involving the resources of international financial institutions; facilitation of trade through the harmonization of customs, rules of origin and value appraisal procedures, tariff and non-tariff regulation, industrial, sanitary and phytosanitary standards (including in the context of building the cooperation between the EU and EAEU).

The conference is also discussing the promotion of the concept of so-called digital transport corridors through the development of paperless trade systems, mutual recognition of electronic shipping documents, online sales platforms for small and medium-sized business, cross-border digital services.

The ministerial conference is held under the aegis of Belarus' presidency in the CEI.

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