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Belarus prioritizes completion of CIS agreement on free trade in services

MINSK (BelTA) – Completing the development of the agreement on free trade in services in the Commonwealth of Independent States is a priority goal. Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov made the statement during the opening ceremony of the international science and practice conference 25 Years of the Commonwealth of Independent States: Results and Prospects on 28 September, BelTA has learned.

“Completing the development of the agreement on free trade in services is a priority goal. The agreement will allow us to work in the WTO+ format,” noted Andrei Kobyakov.

In his words, the interstate protocol on state procurement was signed in 2016. “By doing this we have set forth a goal to expand the free movement of goods and services through aligning conditions of access to public procurement programs and securing transparency of the corresponding procedures in the CIS,” Andrei Kobyakov said.

The PM stressed that 25 years is an important milestone in the history of the Commonwealth of Independent States. “Over a quarter of a century the union has made great headway in developing cooperation between its member states in a wide range of areas: economy, science, sport, culture, and, of course, security and antiterror matters,” he said.

According to the Belarusian head of government, economic cooperation occupies a special place in this list. “Given the current volatile financial situation, the progress we have made in establishing mutually beneficial economic collaboration looks like a serious positive factor that mitigates the negative effect of the global market problems,” he added.

According to Andrei Kobyakov, the signing of the CIS free trade agreement became one of the vital measures in developing mutual trading relations and free competition, securing protection of business interests. “The free trade zone is the basis for us to preserve sustainable economic ties, despite the fact that our member states also make part of different integration associations in the post-Soviet space,” he said.

The international workshop conference entitled as 25th Anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States: Results and Prospects is taking place in Minsk on 28-29 September. Partaking in the conference are over 200 representatives of the CIS member states: representatives of government bodies, diplomatic missions accredited in Belarus, ambassadors and CIS plenipotentiaries, representatives of the CIS bodies and basic organizations, members of the Commission of Economic Affairs under the CIS Economic Council, heads of the CIS biggest scientific and education institutions, leading scientists and specialists, cultural figures. The Minsk conference will summarize the results of the CIS' 25-year activity and work out recommendations to enhance the efficiency of the Commonwealth.

The forum will include four sections highlighting economic cooperation and improvement of the legal basis in the CIS member states; science and innovative cooperation in the CIS, cooperation of the CIS member states in culture, tourism, sport and youth policy; and collaboration in security, crime and terrorism prevention.

A meeting of the Council of the International Association of Academies of Sciences and a meeting of the Consultative Board of the International Association of Academies of Sciences will also be held as part of the forum to discuss the protection of intellectual property and technology transfer. Leading scientists and specialists will discuss science and technology cooperation in space exploration, promising avenues of mutually beneficial cooperation.