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15 Apr 2019

Belarus, Turkey to set up expert group on trade

Belarus, Turkey to set up expert group on trade

ANKARA, 15 April (BelTA) – Belarus and Turkey will set up a special expert group on trade, Belarus’ Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Savinykh told reporters on 15 April, BelTA has learned.

The diplomat noted that Belarus-Turkey trade approached $1 billion last year; however, Belarus’ import from Turkey significantly outweighs export. In his words, this imbalance seriously upsets not only Belarus, but also its Turkish partners. “They realize that only balanced trade can be stable; therefore, this matter is discussed in a very earnest way. The intergovernmental commission decided to set up a special group of experts to deal with trade matters. We will go through all the commodity groups to identify opportunities and bottlenecks,” Andre Savinykh said.

Turkey is part of the customs union with the European Union; therefore it has to apply many duties in respect to third countries, including Belarus. “There is not a single barrier that is imposed exclusively on Belarus. The rationale behind these measures is clear – to protect one’s own market. Nevertheless, Turkish partners are receptive to new opportunities and are ready to open their market for Belarusian products as much as possible,” the ambassador noted.

According to the diplomat, joint projects in the transportation industry could give a significant impetus to bilateral trade. Cooperation in the transportation sector is high on the bilateral agenda.

“China is promoting its Silk Road transport corridor that goes through Turkey. There is also the Northern Silk Road that crosses Russia and Belarus. There are only two countries that have the necessary geographic location to link these routes from north to south by a transportation secant. I mean all kinds of transport: railway and waterway (by sea and by the Dnieper River),” Andrei Savinykh noted.

This project will allow Belarus to use river-sea shipping to deliver goods to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea without reloading on the way. “Turkey and Belarus are absolutely logical partners and allies here. If it works, I am convinced that the trade will even reach 2-billion dollars. The project is already under consideration at the governmental level. It is paramount to build a sustainable system. This also involves the Ukrainian side,” the ambassador said.

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