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17 Feb 2015

Belarus intends to increase industrial, petrochemical and agricultural exports to Iran

MINSK, 17 February (BelTA) - Belarus intends to increase the export of industrial, petrochemical and agricultural products to Iran, Belarusian Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said as he met with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zar, BelTA has learned.

"The Belarusian government confirms that it is interested to boost the export of the industrial, petrochemical and agricultural products which are popular and well-known on the Iranian market," the Belarusian head of government said. He expressed the confidence that the Belarusian-Iranian cooperation has great prospects.

According to Andrei Kobyakov, Belarus and Iran are long-standing good partners. The constructive cooperation with Iran is one of the priorities of Belarus’ foreign policy. "We view Iran as a reliable partner, the influential state, the authoritative participant in international relations. We are grateful for the support that you provide to us on the international arena," the Prime Minister added.

However, despite the fact that the parties have reached good results in the field of investment, science and technology, education and culture, the volume of bilateral trade is still low, just about $100 million. The main reason for this was the toughening of the regime of unilateral economic sanctions against Iran in the past two years, which has significantly constrained the settlements for Belarusian products. "Those countries that impose sanctions against us pursue several objectives: to weaken us economically, to alienate us from each other and pave the way for themselves for a smooth entry into the markets of our countries,” the Belarusian head of government noted.

The Prime Minister expressed the confidence that in the near future the trade and economic interaction between the two countries can reach a qualitatively new level. He noted Belarus's readiness to take all necessary measures to fill the promising venues of cooperation with practical content.

Already in early March Tehran will host the 12th session of the joint Belarusian-Iranian commission for economic cooperation. On 23-24 February, Iran will host a Belarusian delegation headed by the Chairman of the State Science and Technology Committee, and in March a delegation of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

According to Andrei Kobyakov, Belarus commends the efforts of Iran's leadership to develop the relations between the two countries. Belarus is trying to create the most favorable conditions for the projects with the Iranian participation. For example, a number of Iranian companies have been provided with significant benefits. However, Belarus is concerned with the recent difficulties in the financing of projects implemented in Belarus with the participation of Iranian companies who counted on the support from the National Development Fund of Iran. "In this regard, Belarus asks Iran to assist in resolving this issue," said the Belarusian head of government.

In 2014, Belarus' exports to Iran totaled $97 million (209.6% as against 2013). Imports from Iran edged up by 1.1% to $9.7 million. Belarus’ major exports to Iran are potash fertilizers, trucks, and steel products. Belarus imports mostly fruits, dried fruits, nuts, and medicines from Iran. 

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