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Work on CIS draft agreement on free trade in services nearing completion

MINSK (BelTA) - Experts are completing the work on the draft agreement on free trade in services in the CIS, First Deputy Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee Viktor Guminsky said at the ministerial consultations in Minsk to discuss the interaction in the CIS, BelTA learned form the press service of the CIS Executive Committee.

Viktor Guminsky informed the participants to the consultations that the work on the draft document is nearing completion. At its next meeting the CIS Economic Council is expected to set up a high-level group for the final harmonization of the draft. He called on the foreign ministries to assist early completion of the process of harmonizing and signing of the agreement in their respective countries.

Viktor Guminsky recalled that the need for expeditious finalization of the CIS draft agreement on free trade in services was emphasized at the meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of Government held in Tashkent in November 2017. The document aims to contribute to the further convergence of the economies, their cooperation, mutually beneficial trade and economic ties.

Describing the cooperation in the economy as a whole, Viktor Guminsky stated that the joint actions of the CIS countries are aimed at the implementation of the CIS economic development strategy and the CIS interstate program of innovative cooperation up to 2020. He stressed that, in spite of the unfavorable external factors, the mutual trade in the CIS rose by 25% in 2017.

The consultations took stock of the CIS cooperation in 2017, including in the security sector. The improvement of the legal framework of cooperation was smoothly coupled with its practical implementation through joint activities envisaged in the targeted mid-term programs for cooperation of the CIS states against terrorism, crime, drug trafficking, illegal migration, trafficking in human beings and cybercrime. Cooperation in the military sector and border protection was continued. Another priority for the CIS in 2017 was the implementation of earlier-made decisions on improving and adapting the CIS to modern conditions.

Speaking about cooperation prospects, Viktor Guminsky stressed that “the priority task, as before, is to increase the effectiveness of the CIS, enhance its authority in the international arena, and strengthen integration of the participating states in order to ensure peace, good-neighborliness and progress in the CIS”. Tajikistan is presiding in the CIS in 2018. The First Deputy Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee wished Tajikistan every success in the further strengthening and developing cooperation in the CIS. Viktor Guminsky also expressed gratitude to Russia for the successful presidency in the CIS in 2017, which was aimed at further strengthening of the CIS as a regional interstate organization, expanding cooperation in the economic, cultural and humanitarian sectors, and developing cooperation in the security area.