The successor states of the Former Soviet Union which are today members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) for the most part began to liberalise their trade regimes in the early and mid-1990s. At the same time they have pursued two major long-term strategies in an attempt to foster their integration within the region and into the global trading system: First, various forms of bilateral and plurilateral regional trade agreements were formed. Secondly, with the exceptions only of Turkmenistan and Tadjikistan all CIS countries have applied for accession to the WTO. Given the plethora of bi- and plurilateral RTAs and arcane and inconsistent trade regulations, WTO membership is likely to be a sine qua non to rationalise the trade and integration strategies of the CIS countries.
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