Belarus in the CIS
Deep and productive integration in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is one of the priorities of the foreign policy of the Republic of Belarus. Belarus is in favor of the CIS playing a bigger role and expanding the areas of cooperation in order to address the most important tasks facing the CIS member states.
Main features that emphasize the role and relevance of the CIS are:
- equality of the member states, flexibility of collective cooperation formats and decision-making mechanisms;
- systemic interaction in almost all areas (foreign policy, economy, security, humanitarian and scientific cooperation, social and labor relations and migration);
- institutionality: an efficient institutional structure of sectoral bodies covers 66 areas of intersectoral collaboration;
- common legal framework across a wide range of cooperation areas (about 4960 multilateral documents, including 380 international treaties);
- this is the only forum of regional inter-parliamentary cooperation, which allows developing inter-parliamentary relations and positioning the organization in the international parliamentary dimension.
The CIS economic backbone is its multilateral free trade zone with a market capacity of more than 280 million people. The CIS Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was signed in October 2011. It significantly reduced the number of exemptions from the free trade regime for import. The FTA allows maintaining and increasing the exports of Belarusian goods to the markets of the region.
Currently, the parties are working on a draft agreement on free trade in services. The CIS is working on the following key comprehensive documents determining its further development:
- updated framework of further development of the CIS;
- CIS economic development strategy for the period up to 2030;
- interstate program of innovative cooperation of the CIS member states for the period up to 2030.