The role of commerce and industry chambers of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the economic integration of these countries and development of market economy constantly grows, Yevgeny Primakov, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Council of Presidents of Commerce and Industry Chambers of the CIS, told a Council session in Moscow.
"We have a big chance now to strengthen our Commonwealth by creating a single economic space," Primakov said. He stressed that the commerce and industry chambers must be more active while participating in the work of various intergovernmental commissions in the framework of the CIS.
Further on, he reminded the assembly that the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine had signed a statement about preparations for the forming of a single economic space on February 23. "What with these countries handling 94% of GDP and 88% of the whole turnover inside the CIS, they will be able to act as the locomotive of integration processes here," Primakov stated.
Representatives of the commerce and industry chambers of the CIS must be more active in an effort to perfect the normative and legal basis, he went on, stressing that the CIS had no unified system of customs tariffs and rules, lacked a perfect mechanism of mutual payments, and had a number of transport problems, and that it was necessary to simplify the complicated VAT-collecting procedure. Besides, imperfection of the information system in the CIS accounted for the fact that business partners did not trust each other, he added.
The Council of Presidents of Commerce and Industry Chambers of the CIS was set up in November 2002. The very first session was attended by the leaders of commerce and industry chambers of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Turkmen officials were present as observers.