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GUAM countries' PMs to discuss transport corridors, free trade zone at Kyiv meeting

GUAM countries' PMs to discuss transport corridors, free trade zone at Kyiv meetingThe prime ministers of the GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova) Organization for Democracy and Economic Development are due to discuss transport corridors and a free trade zone, GUAM Secretary General Altai Efendiyev told Interfax.

"Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has initiated a meeting of GUAM prime ministers in Kyiv to focus on the implementation of a transport corridor and the completion of procedures, which will start up a free trade zone between our states," Efendiyev said.

A business forum will be held on the sidelines of the prime ministers' meeting, he said.

"The Kazakh head of government has also been invited to the meeting of the prime ministers, which means this meeting will be held in the GUAM+ format. We think this is necessary because the logical continuation of this route will make sense," Efendiyev said.

Ukrainian commodities should reach consumers in the East, while cargo traffic from the East, including Central Asia, should reach European markets, he said.

"We are actually setting the task to reanimate transport corridors through a major project incorporating the interests of practically all countries, including China and European nations. If we manage to make this project attractive and competitive through joint efforts, it can become a foundation of stable and safe economic cooperation in the highly unstable and unpredictable region," the GUAM secretary general said.

The project is highly important for the Visegrad Group and the Baltic countries, he said. "The Baltic Council has shown interest in the possibility to connect the Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas. This idea has been discussed for a long time and it is very close to coming true," Efendiyev said.
In his words, GUAM has been closely interacting with Washington and Tokyo in the GUAM+ U.S. and GUAM+ Japan formats.

"We are eyeing Poland and the Czech Republic as partners in particular projects, and we are also interested in cooperation with the Visegrad Group," the GUAM secretary general said.

Back on January 15, 2016, the Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry jointly with Ukrzaliznytsia organised the demonstration trip of a container train along the new Silk Road, from Ukraine to China through Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan (via the Caspian and Black Seas). It took the train 16 days to reach China early in the morning of January 31.
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