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12 Jan 2017

CIS free trade in services agreement expected to be signed in 2017

MINSK, 12 January (BelTA) – Belarus expects that during Russia's CIS Presidency in 2017, the Commonwealth of Independent States will be able to resolve the differences and sign an agreement on free trade in services, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said at a session of the CIS Plenipotentiaries Council on 12 January, BelTA has learned.

In assessing the CIS prospects in 2017, the minister drew attention to the economic dimension. “The cornerstone is a free trade agreement that defines the rules for the movement of goods. We also need to address the challenges regarding the development of the common market for public procurement and free trade zone for services,” Vladimir Makei said.

“Certain progress has been made in the field of public procurement. Last year, we signed a protocol defining the stages of formation of general rules for access to procurement. As for services, we have certain problems. The draft agreement on free trade in services, frankly speaking, is not finished yet. Substantial differences still remain between the parties. However, this work must be completed. We look forward to the Russian presidency. I am convinced that our Russian colleagues will help find a compromise, and in 2017 we will finally sign the agreement,” Vladimir Makei said.

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