GRODNO, 18 April (BelTA) – Belarus’ cooperation with Lithuania and Finland is gaining momentum, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Lithuania and Finland Vladimir Drazhin said on 18 April at the opening of the 8th International Belarus-Lithuania Forum and the 3rd International Belarus-Finland Forum in Grodno, BelTA has learnt.
Today Lithuania and Finland are among the leading European partners of Belarus in trade, services and investments, the diplomat underlined. In 2011, Belarus-Lithuania trade reached a record high of $1.16 billion. In recent years, Belarus has been actively expanding cooperation with Finland; the trade with this country stood at $207 million last year. New investors are coming. Last year, Lithuanian investments in the Belarusian economy increased more than 2.3 times over 2010 and totaled $114.4 million; the trade in services rose by 18.3% up to $550 million. Belarus received over $40.5 million in Finnish investments. Belarus has over 500 companies with Lithuanian capital and Lithuania is home to over 300 companies with Belarusian capital.
There are grounds to expect more intensive cooperation with Lithuania and Finland next year. There are all the necessary preconditions for that, Vladimir Drazhin said. He expects the increase in trade and transshipment of Belarusian cargo at the Klaipeda port. Belarus and Lithuania have great cooperation prospects in transportation and logistics. The two countries consider boosting cooperation in machine building, power engineering, agriculture and establishing new assembly production facilities.
Addressing the participants of the forum, the diplomat underlined that it should become a landmark event in the history of the bilateral cooperation. The Belarus-Lithuania economic forum has been held by rotation in Belarus and Lithuania since 2005. However, it is the first time the forum has been held simultaneously with the Belarus-Finland forum. It is a good tradition that generates appreciable results and contributes to deepening and strengthening economic, humanitarian and other ties, the ambassador added.