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31 Mar 2015

Guryanov: Potential of promoting Belarusian export to EU not exhausted yet

MINSK, 31 March (BelTA) – The potential of promoting Belarusian goods to the markets of the European Union countries is far from being exhausted, Belarus’ Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Guryanov said during an online press conference hosted by BelTA.

“The potential of promoting Belarusian goods to the markets of the European Union countries is far from being exhausted. This conclusion stems from the understanding that the level of the market saturation in the EU is very high and it is extremely difficult for our manufacturer to expand into this market. We need to give discerning European customers a competitive product with European characteristics in European packaging so to speak. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Belarusian diplomatic missions have been working hard on export promotion. In 2014 the Belarusian export to 13 out of 20 European countries where we have our embassies rose over the export in 2013. We made substantial gains in ten countries. The export to the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Bulgaria expanded several times. Here we are talking about the group of products not related to oil, oil products and nitrogen fertilizers,” Alexander Guryanov said.

For example, last year Belarus exported 154 names of commodities to the UK, including 42 new ones worth more than $60 million. The export to the Netherlands was across 116 commodity positions, of which 31 were new ones. "These countries are not very close geographically," said the deputy minister.

According to him, the nature of the trade and commercial and economic relations with the neighboring countries is more complex and richer. "We managed to advance to the food market of Lithuania. Lithuanians are now well familiar with Belarusian kvass and beer, alcohol beverages, fish products, confectionery, cosmetics. Looking at the forms of the trade and economic interaction, I, as the deputy co-chairman of the Belarusian-Lithuanian commission, am pleased to note assembly projects. Today there are the assembly plants for MTZ tractors, MAZ trucks, and radiation control equipment Polimaster in Lithuania. Just 30km away from Vilnius the Belarusian Amkodor will soon be assembling road and construction equipment at the former Paberze factory of agricultural machinery. In general there are approximately 250 companies with the Belarusian participation in Lithuania today,” said Alexander Guryanov.

In 2014, Belarus boosted the supply of canned vegetables and fruit, mineral and sparkling water to Latvia. Gradually we have been stepping up the deliveries of strong alcohol, chocolate and sweets. We have seen a significant growth in the export of food salt, rapeseed oil, Alexander Guryanov noted.

“The European Union is one of Belarus’ key trading partners. Belarusian exports to the EU countries have doubled in the past five years. The EU accounts for 30-43% of Belarus’ total exports. These are good figures, aren’t they? If we exported only oil products, potash and nitrogen fertilizers, and metal products to the EU, we would have not been able to reach such a level in trade. The lineup of the products we export to the EU countries is much wider. It includes food products, and light industry goods, machinery, tractors and trucks. More than 40 facilities of the Belarusian commodity distribution network have been set up in European countries, including 20 tractor and truck assembly plants,” Alexander Guryanov said.

“Close proximity to the EU motivates our producers to actively introduce European standards in manufacturing. If we want, for example, to export trucks and buses to Europe, we have to install Euro-5 engines. Marking, packaging, maintenance and post-warranty service, flexible mechanisms of payment are very important. We should take into account every detail. Otherwise the rivals win. The European market is big and close to us yet it is highly competitive,” Alexander Guryanov said.

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