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Opinions & Interviews

2 Nov 2018

Belarus wants section on investments included in CIS free trade in services agreement

Belarus wants section on investments included in CIS free trade in services agreement

ASTANA, 2 November (BelTA) - Belarus urges the CIS member states to include a section on investments into the free trade in services agreement, Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said at a meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of Government in Astana on 2 November, BelTA has learned.

“Unfortunately, I must say that the work at the expert level has been virtually deadlocked due to disagreements about the appropriateness of including the section on investments into the draft free trade in serviced agreement,” Sergei Rumas said.

In this case, investments act as an instrument for the promotion of services. “Therefore the section on investments is a key element of the agreement, without which the whole structure loses meaning,” Sergei Rumas stressed.

Sergei Rumas suggested taking a decision principle at the level of the heads of government on the inclusion of this section and move on. “Otherwise, we will have to take another decision but already a sad one: to close this negotiating track,” he said.

According to Sergei Rumas, Belarus views the CIS as one of the most important regional associations and has consistently advocated the strengthening of the economic potential of the CIS, bolstering trade and industrial ties.

This approach relies on concrete results: In January-July 2018 mutual trade increased by 15% over the same period a year earlier ($102 billion). Exports and imports rose by 14.9% and 15.1%, respectively). “I believe that we will facilitate this positive momentum by continuing our efforts to improve access for goods and services produced in the CIS to the common regional market,” the Belarusian head of government said. The services sector could add a serious impetus to the trade dynamics in the CIS but this is impossible without progress on the free trade in services agreement, Sergei Rumas added.

Implementation of the decision of the CIS Council of Heads of State to adapt the CIS to the current realities has been a priority in recent years. “A lot has been done, but the dynamics of world processes is such that we cannot rest on our laurels. We must continue working to ensure that the CIS grows stronger and more attractive to the states parties,” Sergei Rumas noted.

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