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21 Jul 2017

Belarus, Ukraine to aim for $8bn in bilateral trade

Belarus, Ukraine to aim for $8bn in bilateral tradeKIEV, 21 July (BelTA) - Belarus and Ukraine will work to increase the trade up to $8 billion which the countries already had in previous years, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said following the official negotiations with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, BelTA has learned.

The head of state stressed that the negotiations were absolutely specific in nature and became a sort of continuation of the previous meeting between he two leaders which took place on 26 April this year. “Today we continued the conversation, with the focus on economy. Belarus and Ukraine are interested in expanding exports, developing industrial cooperation, joint projects for modernization of road transport infrastructure, introducing innovative technologies,” the Belarusian president said.

Alexander Lukashenko called Ukraine one of the priority markets for Belarusian goods. So is the Belarusian market for Ukrainian products. In 2016 the trade came close to $4 billion, up by more than 10% over 2015. Early this year the growth was even higher. “However it is not time to get complacent. We are far from the past achievements of the Belarusian-Ukrainian cooperation when the annual trade was nearly $8 billion. We have all the possibilities for building up the volumes. The co-chairmen of the joint intergovernmental commission assured us that we will reach this level within two years. Maybe we will be able to surpass it,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian head of state said that the two sides agreed to speed up work on setting up new cooperative enterprises in various industries. “We will jointly manufacture any product that is in demand on the international markets. We can co-produce and sell thousands of products,” he noted.

The president said that last year the joint ventures in Ukraine assembled over 2,500 Belarusian tractors, around 180 combine harvesters, about 500 elevators and other equipment needed in the country. “These are good results, but they are much lower than those we would like to have. I think today's meeting will give a new impetus to our economic cooperation,” the president said.

Revitalizing the Belarusian-Ukrainian interregional ties, which was the topic of today’s negotiations, will help achieve significant progress, Alexander Lukashenko noted. The parties agreed to establish such cooperation and hold the first interregional forum in Gomel. The second such event will be held in Ukraine.

Belarus and Ukraine also agreed on the approaches to the further development of cross-border cooperation.

“I am confident that today's agreement will promote the dynamic development of the two countries, and the friendship between our two peoples,” the head of state said.

The documents on the development of interaction in different areas were signed in the presence of the heads of state. These include the program of cooperation in culture for 2017-2021 between the culture ministries, the agreement on cooperation in the matters of inter-ethnic relations between the Office of the Commissioner for Religions and Ethnicities of Belarus and the Culture Ministry of Ukraine, the agreement on scientific cooperation between the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

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