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11 Jul 2017

Belarus president wants more active trade with EU

MINSK, 11 July (BelTA) – We need to step up trade with the European Union, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting to discuss Belarus’ foreign policy priorities on 11 July, BelTA has learned.

“We need to determine not only the commodity groups but also the goods that we will export to the EU in the future,” the head of state said.

Alexander Lukashenko instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the President Administration and the government to take the matter under control. “This is the only way we can break into this market,” underlined the Belarusian leader. “We must seize the moment. We must literally claw our way into the European market, which is the most solvent and technologically advanced,” he said.

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Belarus to the European Union Alexander Mikhnevich reported on the results and problems of Belarus’ policy in the European and Euro-Atlantic region.

Alexander Mikhnevich said that the positive changes in relations and the window of opportunity dictate a new agenda for the cooperation with Europe. “First and foremost, we need to obtain an easier access to the European market for our products and eliminate barriers,” the diplomat noted. “I am thankful to the Agriculture and Food Ministry for the active position. Together we are clearing the way for our livestock products to the EU market.”

Alexander Mikhnevich drew attention to the need to ensure technical possibilities for sale of a number of Belarusian goods in the European Union.

“For this purpose we need to align regulations, requirements, labeling, packaging, and safety standards of the Eurasian Economic Union and the EU. This has not been done yet, despite the position of the Eurasian Economic Commission,” he said.

There are also great opportunities for supply of products of plant origin, especially frozen goods. Belarus can potentially increase the export of these goods several times, the diplomat noted.

“We are set to complete, by the end of the year, the work on systematization of non-tariff barriers in the EU. Where possible, we will be working to get these restrictions removed. Where it is impossible, we will work out algorithms for product promotion and share the knowledge with our enterprises,” he said.

Investment cooperation is another promising avenue. “The European Investment Bank is ready to launch projects in Belarus in the nearest future worth not less than €200 million per annum. I think we now have a common top priority with the Economy Ministry, relevant ministries and departments: to compile a list of projects and start discussing them with the bank,” Alexander Mikhnevich emphasized.

The Belt and Road initiative is another point of discussion. The establishment of the Great Stone industrial park in Belarus was an eye-opener for the Europeans. It has increased Belarus’ transit role and importance in the Silk Road Economic Belt a lot,” the diplomat added.

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