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3 Jun 2019

Belarus invites Singapore to invest in Hi-Tech Park companies

Belarus invites Singapore to invest in Hi-Tech Park companies

MINSK, 3 June (BelTA) – Belarus invites Singapore to invest in Hi-Tech Park companies. The proposal was put forward by First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Aleksandr Turchin as he met with Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry of Singapore Koh Poh Koon on 3 June, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Turchin said he hopes that the present visit of the Singaporean delegation will allow the sides to advance negotiations on signing trade agreements, will help business circles establish contacts and come up with concrete projects. Aleksandr Turchin noted that as part of the Belarusian government he coordinates matters of bilateral trade and economic cooperation with Singapore. “I would like to invite you to determine several key projects we could personally oversee and ensure their successful realization,” he added.

In particular, the first deputy prime minister stressed that Belarus is one of the recognized, rapidly growing leaders in Eastern Europe in the area of high technologies. A special preferential regime has been enabled in the Hi-Tech Park by the relevant decree of the head of state. Belarus’ export of IT services grows by roughly 30-40% every year and reached $1.5 billion in 2018. “Our main markets are the USA and the European Union. Since the profitability of companies is over 40%, I would like to suggest investing in our companies in the park so that we could bring our services to the Southeast Asia market,” Aleksandr Turchin said.

According to the first deputy prime minister, Belarus views Singapore as a gateway to push Belarusian goods and services to the vast market of Southeast Asia and the Asian-Pacific region. “In turn, we invite Singapore to take a look at Belarus as a promising point of entry to the capacious market of the Eurasian Economic Union, including taking into account the forthcoming signing of the free trade agreement between Singapore and the Eurasian Economic Union,” Aleksandr Turchin said. He went on saying that Belarus wholeheartedly supports the signing of the agreement and would welcome its prompt signing.

Aleksandr Turchin also expressed concern over an unfavorable stiffening of corporate policy of Singaporean banks towards Belarusian industrial companies. He remarked that Belarus expects the Singaporean government to help promptly resolve the systemic problems of how Singaporean banks offer their services to representations of Belarusian companies.

While in Belarus, the Singaporean delegation is expected to visit the China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone and meet with its leadership. Aleksandr Turchin said: “This is why I hope our effective dialogue at the level of the governments of Belarus and Singapore will continue. I am convinced that joint work on priority avenues will allow taking bilateral cooperation to new heights.”

In turn, Koh Poh Koon noted that good relations had evolved between Singapore and Belarus over the course of history. The fact has allowed the countries to create a foundation for conducting negotiations on the free trade agreement. “My colleagues have informed me that we’ve made sufficient headway in preparing the agreement,” the senior minister of state for trade and industry of Singapore said. He remarked that there are no major differences of opinion in Belarus-Singapore relations, this is why both sides intend to finish work on the chapter dealing with merchandise trade soon. “I hope it will happen this year,” Koh Poh Koon said. He assured that Singapore would do its best to support Belarus as the country takes steps to join the World Trade Organization.

Belarus-Singapore trade totaled $50.9 million in 2018, 135% as against 2017. The Belarusian tire maker Belshina, the haul truck manufacturer BelAZ, and the tractor manufacturer MTZ have set up regional distributors in Singapore in order to promote their export in Asian countries.

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