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28 Oct 2016

Belarus calls for more effort to develop CIS agreement on free trade in services

MINSK, 28 October (BelTA) – It is necessary to work harder on the CIS agreement on free trade in services. Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov made the statement during the expanded-participation session of the CIS Heads of Government Council in Minsk on 28 October, BelTA has learned.

“Unfortunately, the pace of removing restrictions in trade is not impressive for now,” said the Prime Minister. In his words, there are also objective difficulties with drafting the agreement on free trade in services. The CIS states have so far been unable to agree on fundamental matters such as the list of regulated services, including financial ones, the expansion of the agreement’s effect onto investments, and the removal of restrictions on access to the national markets of services.

“I call upon the relevant agencies of the CIS states to work harder on the agreement and come up with a common approach at last,” said Andrei Kobyakov. “The CIS Executive Committee could pitch in, too.”

The Prime Minister reminded that in June 2016 five heads of government signed a protocol on rules and procedures for regulating government procurement contracts. “The document is open to anyone willing to join,” he stressed.

Andrei Kobyakov also added that, on the whole, the free trade zone agreement, the agreement on free trade in services, and the protocol on rules and procedures for regulating government procurement contracts are “the three whales that allow CIS states to preserve mutually beneficial conditions of economic interaction for a long time”. “Concentrating efforts on these directions, their full implementation will become a decent priority in our joint work within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The economy of every member state will feel concrete results of these efforts,” the Prime Minister is convinced.

There are over 20 draft documents concerning further development of cooperation in priority areas on the agenda of the CIS Heads of Government Council session. Matters of economic cooperation are in the spotlight. In particular, progress in implementing the free trade zone agreement and the expected production and consumption of energy resources in the period till 2030 will be discussed as well as matters concerning cooperation in mining industry, automobile engineering, finance and economy, plant quarantine, formation and development of the intellectual property market, the establishment and development of the information society and other matters.

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