NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed at the Oct. 11 meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State in Ashgabat to introduce the Commonwealth Visa, a single visa regime in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), along the lines of the principles of the Schengen agreement that exists in Europe. This approach aims to significantly increase the tourism flow and requires the combined efforts of all states.
The President noted that countries have great potential for tourism cooperation, as this industry brings many benefits.
“Each country of the Commonwealth has its own unique recreational, natural landscape and historical sites. They can adequately complement the list of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world,” he said.
In his remarks to his counterparts, Tokayev also presented a comprehensive vision of the further development of the CIS, reported the Akorda press service.
Tokayev has said he considers the CIS an influential international organisation, which has preserved and strengthened political, economic and humanitarian ties between CIS countries.
“Our Commonwealth also has to go through a difficult, but very necessary process of adaptation to changing realities. At the initiative of Nursultan Nazarbayev, we started the process of structural modernisation of the CIS. In 2017, work began on updating the Concept of further development and the strategy of economic development of the Commonwealth. I intend to continue this work,” Tokayev said.
Trade and economic cooperation are among the primary tasks of the CIS. Established in 2011, the CIS Free Trade Zone has improved the conditions for trade between the countries. Trade cooperation now requires continued work to reduce existing barriers, the Kazakh leader said.
Digital technologies, e-commerce, free trade in services and tourism are identified as promising areas for joint work.
“The rapid development of digital technologies is changing the landscape of the life of states. The work on digitisation of the economy is underway in all the CIS countries. An exchange of experience and knowledge, as well as joint efforts within the framework of the Commonwealth is important for obtaining a synergetic effect. In this regard, I propose to hold special CIS forums on modern technologies on a regular basis. Similar measures are already being tested within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union,” he said.
Global e-commerce reached $1.8 trillion or 11.5 percent of retail trade in 2018. According to forecasts, this indicator will grow to $2.8 trillion in five years. The Kazakh President proposed to develop a regulatory document to provide conditions for the development of e-commerce within the CIS, whose share in the global volume today is 1 percent.
The President noted the symbolism of declaring 2020 in the CIS as the Year of the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War.
“In those heroic years, our peoples, including from Kazakhstan, stood as one unshakable front in the face of the Nazi threat. Perpetuating the memory of the fallen on the battlefields, paying tribute to veterans and homefront workers remains our common duty. We in Kazakhstan are strongly against the distortion of the history of the Second World War,” he said.
Presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also spoke about multifaceted cooperation as part of the CIS. They also discussed the chairmanship of the CIS in 2020 and the chair of the CIS Executive Committee.
CIS heads of state signed the declaration on strategic economic cooperation of the member states of the CIS, the address of the heads of state-participants of the CIS to the peoples of the Commonwealth countries and the world community in connection with the 75th anniversary of the Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 as well as the convention of the state-participants to the CIS on the transfer of non-custodial sentences and the programme of cooperation of the CIS member states in the fight against terrorism and other violent manifestations of extremism for 2020-2022.