Meeting of CIS Heads of State Council

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We need to strengthen the CIS as a self-sufficient and effective union, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he spoke at the meeting of the CIS Heads of State Council in Ashgabat on 11 October.

The President emphasized the importance of the declaration on strategic economic cooperation which the CIS heads of state are expected to consider at the summit. “The recent developments worldwide show that there is an objective need for strengthening the CIS as a self-sufficient and effective union. Economy has always been and remains the foundation of our interaction. This document has once again confirmed the readiness to consolidate the economic potential of the CIS countries, to deepen production, cooperation and trade ties,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian head of state expressed support for intensifying cooperation in key areas, primarily in transport, energy, industrial cooperation, mutual investment and trade.

“There is a huge reserve in expanding the domestic market of our countries, increasing its capacity. It can be implemented, first of all, through further liberalization of trade in both goods and services. Additional opportunities may be provided by a return to full-scale industrial cooperation, the setting up of new competitive joint ventures,” the Belarusian leader said.

In his words, the parties are almost ready with the CIS Economic Development Strategy through 2030. The President suggested supplementing it with concrete breakthrough projects, which may become common promising points of economic growth. “I suggest instructing the Executive Committee to work on it together with the governments and work out the corresponding proposals,” the head of state said.

According to him, the most important task on the economic agenda is the development of a full-fledged free trade zone. “We are interested in the prompt completion of the draft agreement on free trade in services. The use of the potential of this sector is in the interests of all the CIS countries. We must admit, however, that the process of preparing the agreement at the expert level is running over time. I think it is appropriate to set strict time limits for the final revision of the document,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.