Ratification of the Agreement on Free Trade Area (FTA) within the CIS countries is the most important condition for further integration of the Commonwealth, the Prime Minister of Russia Dmitri Medvedev said at the Council of the CIS Heads of government in Ashkhabad, ForUm learned from Russian government press office.

Medvedev emphasized that he intends to continue making efforts to improve interaction and to use all possible methods for the integration to progress and bring concrete results. Medvedev stressed that this integration must not be formal and must be focused on specific steps.

"I consider the further development of arrangements and procedures for the Agreement on Free Trade Area within the CIS countries ratification to be one of the most important conditions for our further integration. After all, it is beneficial to all of us, so we welcome the widest possible range of its members from other countries," Medvedev said.

The Russian Head of government said that this was discussed during the meeting in narrow format. He also revealed the figures of mutual trade volumes, which, according to him, indicates the state of economies.

"The mutual trade of the CIS countries increased by 36% in 2011 and reached the threshold of 300 billion dollars in absolute terms," he said, noting that this is not the limit.

According to Mr. Medvedev, this figure itself shows the potential of the integration interaction and economic relations. Medvedev considers that it is especially important at a time when the global economy is in a poor state.

"I am representing Russia in such quality for the first time and, of course, I would like to confirm our country's undoubted priority in the assessment of the key direction of the CIS countries integration. The economic and trade cooperation is of particular importance," Russian Prime Minister said, noting that humanitarian cooperation and cultural ties play rather significant role in this process.

In this Medvedev sees "not only the driver of the CIS countries development, but also the guarantee for a stable and sound development of the region as a whole."

"This is an indispensable precondition for boosting the economic development and solving the critical challenges that lie in the socio-economic sphere. Ultimately, it creates the conditions for improving the quality of life for many people," he stressed.

As a reminder, on October 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg (Russia), the prime ministers of the CIS member states signed the agreement establishing a free trade area. Agreement on FTA was signed by Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan. Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan did not sign the agreement. However, it was stated that these countries will join it.

The agreement comes into force within 30 days from the date of receipt by the depositary of the third notice on the implementation by the signatories of internal procedures necessary for its coming into effect.

However, now Ukraine has raised many comments on the free trade area agreement within the CIS, consisting in the inequality of conditions relating to the trade restrictions imposition by the Customs Union countries and other members of the Commonwealth.

The Parliament of Ukraine has not approved the agreement yet.
On April 2, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev signed a Law on Ratification of the FTA within the CIS.


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