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16 Mar 2017

Call for better engagement of MPs in effort to boost Belarus-Kazakhstan trade

MINSK, 16 March (BelTA) – Vladimir Andreichenko, Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, met with Nurlan Nigmatulin, Chairman of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, on 16 March. During the meeting, Vladimir Andreichenko called on the MPs of the two countries to take a more active part in the effort to restore the bilateral trade to previous levels, BelTA has learned.

“Our trade and economic relations are a major talking point. In general, they develop quite well. However, last year’s decline of almost 30% raises concerns,” Vladimir Andreichenko noted. He believes that this does not match the potential of the two countries, so the working groups set up in the parliaments of Belarus and Kazakhstan should take proper care of the issue.

Vladimir Andreichenko believes it is symbolic that the visit of the Kazakhstani parliamentary delegation to Belarus coincides with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. He noted that over the past 25 years, much has been done to strengthen the bilateral ties. The relations have been advanced to a strategic level, and the leaders of the two countries have played a key role in this, along with the governments, ministries, government agencies, and MPs. Vladimir Andreichenko stressed that he views the current visit of the Kazakhstani delegation as an opportunity to discuss matters that remain unsettled.

He added that Belarus and Kazakhstan cooperate successfully in international organizations, always support each other. Vladimir Andreichenko also informed Nurlan Nigmatulin that an agreement on the organization of 26th OSCE PA Annual Session in Minsk in July was signed on 15 March, and that the document was inked by OSCE PA President Christine Muttonen who is currently in Belarus on a visit. Vladimir Andreichenko expressed hope that the Kazakhstani delegation will take a most active part in the annual session.

For his part, Nurlan Nigmatulin thanked Vladimir Andreichenko for the invitation to visit Belarus. He pointed out that Belarus is one of the key political, trade and economic partners for Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is one of the top ten importers of Belarusian products. It is Belarus’ third major market in the CIS after Russia and Ukraine. In 2016, the trade between Belarus and Kazakhstan totaled $419.1 million, and Belarus had a trade surplus. Belarus’ major exports were tractors and tractor units, milk and dairy products, vehicles and equipment for crop harvesting, trucks, and furniture.

There are eight joint plants assembling Belarusian machinery and equipment in Kazakhstan. The countries are working to launch another six assembly plants in Kazakhstan (Pinsk Small-Scale Mechanization Means Plant, Dorelektromash, and others).

The main document regulating the bilateral relations is the plan of action to strengthen the cooperation between the governments of Belarus and Kazakhstan for 2017 and 2018. The roadmap covers all areas of cooperation, including trade, economy, science, technology, culture, humanitarian affairs, regional and other matters.

The MPs of the two countries cooperate actively in international venues, such as the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The National Assembly of Belarus of the sixth convocation has a working group for cooperation with the parliament of Kazakhstan. The Mazhilis also has such a group.

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