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GUAM countries set to establish free trade zone

Its member states hope it will be established by year end.

GUAM countries set to establish free trade zone
Photo: Photo: kmu.gov.ua

Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova (GUAM) intend to create a free trade zone along the principles and rules of the World Trade Organization by the end of the year.

"We have touched upon the issues of deepening economic cooperation, and of course, we have discussed the issues of political interaction. It is important that we have signed a number of documents that will allow us to fully implement the free trade zone among our states in 2017. This will benefit the development of our national economies and deepen our cooperation," Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said after the GUAM summit of the member states' prime ministers.

"We also signed a protocol between our customs services that will allow us to simplify customs procedures to ensure high quality of the implementation of a free trade zone," he said.

The Organization for Democracy and Economic Development (GUAM) was established in 1997 by Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

Every GUAM member state in one way or another has suffered at various times from Russian aggression or pro-Russian separatists. In the case of Georgia, these are Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Ukraine has Crimea and Donbas, Azerbaijan has Nagornyy Karabakh, and Moldova has the Dniester region.