Russian parliament ratifies CIS free trade zone treaty

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MOSCOW. March 21. KAZINFORM The State Duma of Russia ratified a treaty on the CIS free trade zone on 20 March, BelTA said.

The document was signed by Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Ukraine in Saint Petersburg on 18 December 2011. Uzbekistan plans to accede to the treaty.

The document is supposed to enable a free trade zone in the CIS space and create favorable conditions for further integration based on norms of the World Trade Organization.

Unlike existing treaties the new one has an instrument to enforce parties to fulfill their obligations. The instrument is represented by rules to resolve disputes, which are laid down by an addendum to the treaty.

Along with lifting import and export duties the treaty provides for the parties to use non-tariff regulations in a non-discriminatory manner, provides for the parties to enable national regime, and provides for subsidizing rules, which are compliant with the international practice.

The document provides for lifting quantity restrictions in mutual trade, equalizes rights of parties in government purchases, provides for freedom of transit, the possibility of using special protective measures in mutual trade. The document regulates subsidizing, establishment of technical barriers in trade, application of sanitary measures, introduction of restrictions for the sake of securing a balance of payment.

The new free trade treaty will replace the existing bilateral and multilateral free trade treaties of CIS member states.

The treaty will come into force 30 days after a third party state has ratified it.

Once it comes into force, the parties will have to develop and sign a protocol to regulate obligations of the parties regarding rules and procedures for government purchases and an agreement on pipeline transport transit.

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