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26 Oct 2018

Belarus ready to intensify all-round cooperation with France

Belarus ready to intensify all-round cooperation with France

MINSK, 26 October (BelTA) – The Belarusian government is ready to intensify cooperation with France in all areas, Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko said at a meeting with Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, in Minsk on 26 October, BelTA has learned.

“We would like to bolster ties with France in all the areas, first of all, in trade, economic, investment, education, science and culture,” said Igor Petrishenko.

According to the vice premier, the current level of trade is still far from the potential of the two countries. “France’s commodity import stands at $580 billion. Our share is quite small, just $66 million [the 2017 data],” he said.

The government hopes that the trade with France will reach the amount Belarus has in trade with other European countries, such as Germany and Italy, and also the UK, despite Brexit,” the vice premier said. “We hope that your country will look at Belarus in a new way and will intensify cooperation in all areas,” he added.

Igor Petrishenko noted that Belarus will host the 2nd II European Games in 2019 and expressed the hope that France will be represented at the tournament. He also expressed hope for more frequent visits of the Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France to Belarus, especially in the light of the 30-day visa-free program in Belarus.

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne agreed that the trade between Belarus and France could be higher. “The numbers could be much higher, especially in view of our geographical proximity. Both our countries are located in Europe,” he said.

In January-August 2018 the mutual trade between Belarus and France rose by 14.6% as against the same period a year prior to total $261.7 million. Belarus’ major exports are transportation services, computer, telecommunication and information services. In 2017 the trade expanded by 28%. In January-June the volume of foreign investment from France amounted to $4.5 million (up by 75.1% over the same period a year earlier). There are 40 organizations with French investment in Belarus.

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