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20 Dec 2016

Minsk Oblast eager to advance cooperation with Malaysian province

MINSK, 20 December (BelTA) – Minsk Oblast intends to advance cooperation with the Malaysian state of Sabah. Minsk Oblast Governor Semyon Shapiro made the statement as he met with Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Malaysian parliament Pandikar Amin Mulia on 20 December, BelTA has learned.

The Minsk Oblast Governor said he believes that Belarus-Malaysia relations across the board should advance more actively. “We will provide you with complete information about economic and trade capabilities of Minsk Oblast. You will be informed about social projects so that you could see contact points in bilateral cooperation. Relations between nations are based on the development of relations between companies and regions. We are interested in advancing cooperation with the State of Sabah,” said Semyon Shapiro.

The Minsk Oblast Governor extended an invitation for representatives of the State of Sabah government to visit Belarus and Minsk Oblast in particular for the sake of giving an impulse to the advancement of interregional cooperation.

In turn, Pandikar Amin Mulia said he was ready to openly discuss the bilateral relations. Any initiatives that may be expressed during meetings in Belarus will be forwarded to the prime minister of Malaysia. He also invited Semyon Shapiro to come to Malaysia on a working visit. “Since the very start of Malaysia-Belarus diplomatic relations cooperation at various levels has been proceeding in a constructive manner. Malaysia grants full support to Belarusian initiatives during international forums,” said Pandikar Amin Mulia.

During the meeting it was noted that in 2015 Belarus-Malaysia trade was close to $160 million, with Minsk Oblast accounting for over half of it. Malaysian companies most tightly work with OAO Belarusian Potash Company for the sake of purchasing the potash fertilizers OAO Belaruskali makes. Director General of Belarusian Potash Company Yelena Kudryavets noted that the share of Belarusian potash fertilizers on the Malaysian market stands at 25%. In 2016 the volume of potash export from Belarus to Malaysia increased in comparison with the previous year. Pandikar Amin Mulia suggested expanding cooperation with Malaysian companies in deliveries of potash fertilizers.

Olga Gavruk, Head of the Foreign Economic Ties Office of the Economy Committee of the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee, added that Minsk Oblast is ready for cooperation with Malaysian partners in all spheres of mutual interest. Minsk Oblast expects that trade will not be limited to potash fertilizers, that the choice of merchandise will be expanded. “Primarily with agricultural machines. I hope that such production sector flagships like BelAZ will be involved as well as food producers and other companies,” said the official. Speaking about food trade possibilities, Olga Gavruk noted that the relevant matters will be worked on despite the fact that New Zealand, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of dairy products, is located very closely to Malaysia. If economic parameters of Belarusian food export to Malaysia are acceptable, Minsk Oblast companies will try to deliver their food to Malaysia. Developing bilateral relations in the sphere of tourism was also mentioned as an option.

Olga Gavruk said that plans had been made to establish tight cooperation with the State of Sabah at the regional level. If the experience turns out to be positive, tight relations may be established with other regions of Malaysia, too.

The delegation of the Malaysian parliament is expected to visit the skiing resort Silichi in Logoisk District, Minsk Oblast and the Zhodino-based automobile engineering company BelAZ.

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