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CIS states to agree exemptions for free trade zone treaty

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CIS government heads will try to agree exemptions for a free trade zone treaty on May 19 in Minsk, Belarusian Foreign Ministry's official representative Andrei Savinykh said Thursday.

CIS government heads will try to agree exemptions for a free trade zone treaty on May 19 in Minsk, Belarusian Foreign Ministry's official representative Andrei Savinykh said Thursday.

"The sides will discuss a draft free trade zone treaty," Savinykh said.

The Economic Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) approved a draft agreement on a free trade zone in mid-April that would move the grouping of most of the former Soviet republics further toward liberalized trade.

Savinyk said the sides will agree exemptions from the free trade regime and undertake an obligation not to expand them more, and discuss the phasing out of export duties in the CIS.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in April export duties remained a stumbling block in the negotiations.

Sergei Glazyev, secretary at large of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, has said that a free trade zone might be launched as soon as by the end of 2011.

The CIS is a loose association of former Soviet republics. It consists of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ukraine has not ratified the CIS Charter but participates in its activities.

MINSK, May 12 (RIA Novosti)

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