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15.09.2016

Lukashenko: Economic progress of CIS countries depends on customs integration

MINSK (BelTA) – Further development of the economies of the CIS member states and the wellbeing of nations depend on the depth of integration in the customs sector, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said at the meeting with the participants of the 64th session of the CIS Council of Heads of Customs Services on 15 September, BelTA has learned.

The head of state reminded that more than 25 years ago Belarus stood at the origins of the Commonwealth of Independent States, one of the first integration associations in the post-Soviet space. This organization prioritized the creation of favorable conditions for the enhancement of trade and economic ties and the movement of people between the countries of the Commonwealth.

“The operation of the customs services of new sovereign states was in the spotlight. Over the years, we have developed a solid legal framework in the customs sector, and the Council of Heads of Customs Services and corresponding national agencies played a crucial role in it,” Alexander Lukashenko stressed. “I would like to mention such documents as the free trade agreement, the agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs affairs, the model customs code, and other documents. They are relying on the core principles of the World Trade Organization, including the freedom of transit on the territory of the states.”

The Council of Heads of Customs Services includes the Committee of Heads of Law Enforcement Bodies. According to the President, this initiative is timely since the customs service is, first of all, meant to protect the territory of the country from counterfeited goods and drugs. This problem is escalating every year.

The head of state said that historically every CIS member state had had a certain export and import share in foreign trade, had been working with certain markets. “Customs services efficiently process commodity flows, help increase the number of partners and ramp up trade flows,” Alexander Lukashenko emphasized.

The President also remarked: “Because of Belarus' geographic location, being part of the Commonwealth the country shares major part of its border with the European Union countries. Together we are implementing a number of programs to develop the border infrastructure, ensure security, and promote the free movement of goods. Frankly speaking, I would like the EU to take a more active part in customs affairs. Belarus, which is, first of all, a transit country for goods, is extremely important for Russia and the European Union. They are interested in reducing the time of transit flows processing.”