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11 May 2018

Belarus, Tajikistan to sign cooperation roadmap till 2020

MINSK, 11 May (BelTA) – Belarus and Tajikistan are expected to sign a roadmap for the bilateral cooperation for 2019-2020 during the forthcoming official visit of Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko to Tajikistan, BelTA learnt from Belarus’ Ambassador to Tajikistan Oleg Ivanov.

“The most important outcome of the visit would be translation of mutual trust between the two presidents into practical achievements. First of all, in the field of cooperation. We have been saying for a long time that we are ready to help Tajikistan and take cooperation as far as it is ready to,” the diplomat said.

Oleg Ivanov noted that in the previous years, trade and economic cooperation with Tajikistan was not steady for a number of reasons. “We have outlined a rather pragmatic and specific program of action, first of all, in trade and economy. It is during the visit that the roadmap for bilateral cooperation between Belarus and Tajikistan for 2019-2020 will be signed,” the ambassador noted.

In his words, the roadmap encompasses all major cooperation avenues, including trade, economy, humanitarian field and culture. Cooperation in the defense industry is not ignored, either. “It is a comprehensive program of work on the state level, inter-industry and departmental levels,” Oleg Ivanov explained.

The diplomat noted that some 15 bilateral documents are to be signed during the official visit of Belarus’ president. Apart from the abovementioned cooperation roadmap, they include a joint statement of the presidents, a number of agreements, as well as cooperation plans between government agencies.

The ambassador unveiled some details of the forthcoming Belarus’ National Expo in Tajikistan. He underlined that it will be among Belarus’ biggest expos abroad in recent years. Taking part in the event will be representatives of nearly 150 companies and organizations. Joint assembly products will be showcased there. Everything Belarus is proud of will be presented, including food industry, mechanical engineering, education, healthcare, sport and tourism, chemistry, communication, and information technologies, the diplomat added.

Belarus took an exclusively pragmatic approach to the choice of exhibits. “We will bring machinery here not to boast. Therefore, we will pick only those machines that can be in demand in Tajikistan and the neighboring countries. Machinery will be brought on order. We want the businessmen who will take part in our events to be able to see and touch the things they have ordered using catalogues, the Internet or by direct negotiations,” the diplomat noted.

Speaking about the forthcoming business forum in Dushanbe, Oleg Ivanov underlined that from the very beginning this event was meant to be tripartite and involve business people from Afghanistan. However, by now dozens of companies from Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have confirmed their participation in the forum. Several dozens of contracts and memorandums of intent estimated at dozens of million dollars are expected to be signed.

Belarus-Tajikistan trade was estimated at $42.9 million in 2017, twice as much compared with 2016. Positive trends remained in place in 2018. In January-March 2018 the bilateral trade grew by 47% and Belarus’ export to Tajikistan increased by 60% over the same period in 2017. Oleg Ivanov explained that such impressive figures can be partially attributed to a setback in 2015-2016 when the trade with the CIS countries dropped. However, a great contribution to the trade expansion was made by agreements reached by the two presidents and great efforts invested by the business community and diplomats. In particular, direct supplies were organized, some logistics issues were removed, and modern schemes of contract financing were employed. The MTZ assembly plant was opened at the Agrotechservice company in the city of Hisor in 2017. Over 15 Belarusian companies developed their own commodity distribution entities in Tajikistan. Among them are such companies as BelAZ, MTZ, MAZ, Amkodor, Gomselmash, Bobruiskagromash.

The ambassador added that the program of the official visit of Belarus’ head of state to Tajikistan will feature the Days of Belarusian Culture and Cinema. The events will be held not only in the capital, but also in other cities and towns of the country.

Representatives of Belarusian higher learning institutions will have their own program in Tajikistan. Two centers will be opened at the M.S. Osimi Tajik Technical University. One of them is Belarus’ Legal Information Center that will also provide access to the Eurasian Economic Union legislation. The other is the Center for Belarusian Language, Culture and Education. Some agreements in the field of education are to be signed.

The parties will discuss an extensive political agenda taking into consideration Tajikistan’s CIS chairmanship and events within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The political agenda includes implementation of peace-keeping initiatives and counterterrorism efforts, as well as joint work as part of international organizations.

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