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State Duma ratifies CIS free trade zone agreement

March 20, 2012, 18:59 UTC+3

The State Duma has ratified the CIS free trade zone agreement

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MOSCOW, March 20 (Itar-Tass) —— The State Duma has ratified the CIS free trade zone agreement signed by Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Ukraine in St. Petersburg on October 18, 2011.

The ratification of this document is necessary for full-value and effective functioning of the CIS free trade zone and a favorable environment for integration on the basis of World Trade Organization (WTO) norms, Chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs and Compatriots Leonid Slutsky said. “That is a keynote treaty for economic integration in the CIS for many years to come,” he noted.

The agreement guarantees the non-discriminative application of non-tariff regulation norms and clear subsidizing rules based on the world practice. In contrast to existent agreements, it compels sides, which breach their commitments, to fulfill them, Slutsky said.

The agreement fully complies with WTO fundamental principles, Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachyov said. “The agreement applies not only to commodities but also to services,” he said. It is very important that the agreement offers trade security mechanisms, such as anti-dumping measures. “It defines principles of the allotment of state subsidies to industries and agriculture, technical, sanitary and Phytosanitary regulation and customs administering,” he noted.

The agreement allows for rapid reaction to the conclusion of agreements with third parties by one of its participants, Likhachyov said. “Ukraine and Moldova would be a good example. As soon as they start the formation of a free trade zone with a third party, such as the European Union, and we view that step as harmful, we may introduce import duties on their commodities. That is a very serious provision aimed to concentrate the participants’ interest within the CIS free trade zone,” he said.

The agreement gives the first legal recognition to the Customs Union. “It says that not only the signatories to the agreement but also the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) shall have equal rights,” the deputy minister said.

The agreement will enter into force 30 days after the last instrument of ratification is deposited.

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