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5 Aug 2020

Ambassador: Belarus-Uzbekistan cooperation has great prospects

Ambassador: Belarus-Uzbekistan cooperation has great prospects
Leonid Marinich. An archive photo

MINSK, 5 August (BelTA) – Belarus is optimistic about prospects of trade and economic cooperation with Uzbekistan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Uzbekistan Leonid Marinich told BelTA.

According to the diplomat, amidst fears of a considerable slowdown in economic activity and foreign trade, Belarus and Uzbekistan managed to maintain a record-high level of mutual trade in 2019. In January-June 2020, the mutual trade approached $110 million (nearly 97% as against the same period of 2019). Belarus’ export (excluding oil and petroleum products) amounted to $87.5 million, up 0.2% year-on-year. The import of goods from Uzbekistan exceeded $21.2 million (86.9% as against the same period a year earlier).

“Belarus’ product portfolio in Uzbekistan is pretty diverse this year. The country exports about 300 commodity items representing virtually all manufacturing sectors of our country. It is noteworthy that Belarus launched a great number of new products in Uzbekistan in 2019, namely 87 commodity items worth over $10 million. These are petrochemical and light industry products, paper products, hygiene items. Agricultural and processing industry products are also widely available in Uzbekistan.”

Belarusian companies have significantly increased the export of beef, poultry, sugar, milk and condensed cream, cheese and cottage cheese to Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan’s consumers have an opportunity to buy Belarusian confectionery products in large retail chains in the capital city and in the regions of Uzbekistan, the ambassador noted.

Belarus’ manufacturers of medicines, vaccines, vitamins and disinfectants have expanded their presence in Uzbekistan, too. “Despite a considerable distance between our countries, Belarus’ woodworking products also have great sales prospects in Uzbekistan. Belarus-made furniture, wallpaper, various types of paper and cardboard are already supplied to Uzbekistan,” the diplomat informed.

According to the ambassador, Tashkent and other large cities of Uzbekistan are experiencing a construction boom, which is in many ways due to the state housing construction programs. This opens up new opportunities for promoting Belarusian sanitary ware and ceramic tiles, refrigerators and washing machines, gas and electric stoves on this market.

“Despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, our exporters are making every effort to maintain the sales of industrial products that Belarus has been exporting to Uzbekistan for a long time. Unfortunately, in H1 the supplies of Belarus-made trucks, tractors and spare parts for them, combine harvesters and other agricultural machinery shrank. “Our industry giants - BelAZ, MTZ, MAZ, Amkodor and Gomselmash – and their partners from Uzbekistan are working to expand cooperation and are exploring possible financial instruments to promote exports, like various forms of export lending and leasing. Belarusian manufacturers of buses and electric buses seek to take part in tenders to renew the urban transport infrastructure of Tashkent and other cities of Uzbekistan. For this we have all the technological capabilities, successful test results and extensive experience in implementing similar projects in other countries,” Leonid Marinich said.

The embassy added that the most important tool to promote Belarusian goods in Uzbekistan is to arrange exhibitions and presentations. This is not only the specificity of the Oriental market, but also the need to reach out to consumers and showcase the quality of Belarusian products.

“The quarantine frustrated some of our plans in Uzbekistan this year. We sincerely hope that the situation with coronavirus will improve, transport communication between our countries will resume and a significant number of joint events will be held in the second half of the year. Among them will be the eighth session of the joint intergovernmental commission on bilateral cooperation in Tashkent, as well as a large-scale exhibition Made in Belarus,” the ambassador added.

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