Principal Destination: Free Trade Zone
Interaction within the CIS will find a new breath with a more intensive dynamics - such was the leitmotif of the session of the CIS heads of government, held in the capital of Uzbekistan.
Tashkent hosted such a forum for the first time. The meeting was chaired by the Russian Federation as the country presiding in the Commonwealth of Independent States in 2017. The agenda included topical issues that need to be considered in the context of contemporary realities. Representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan discussed 19 issues as a whole, more than half of them were in the economic sphere.
One of the crucial and expected was the issue of a free trade zone. In this connection, Uzbekistan’s Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov noted the importance of the soonest formation of a full-fledged free trade zone in the CIS space, which should provide favorable conditions for expanding mutual trade.
The significance of full implementation of the provisions laid down in the free trade agreement was recalled by the head of the Russian government Dmitry Medvedev. “Systemic, interested work is needed to remove barriers, simplify procedures, create competitive conditions for business in the CIS,” the Russian Prime Minister said.
Speaking at a briefing following the meeting, Medvedev said: “We continue to strengthen multilateral cooperation within the framework of the Commonwealth, strive to combine economic work in the CIS, and all the decisions made today, I hope, will serve to further the cooperation among the countries. And we will continue to work in a constructive way in all directions.”
Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee Sergei Lebedev, stressing the “very responsible approach” that the organizing committee felt during the preparation for the event, pointed out, “It seems to me that the nature of today’s meeting means that the work is intensive, the implementation of the Free Trade Area Agreement is the most important item on the agenda, and therefore the discussion took place quite vividly both in contracted and in extended formats.”
What areas of cooperation are of interest to all countries without exception? According to the head of the Uzbek government, it is the creation of jobs, transport communications, tariff policy, tourism, science, education, health, environment, culture.