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16 Apr 2019

Lukashenko off to Turkey on official visit

Lukashenko off to Turkey on official visit

MINSK, 16 April (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has left for Turkey where he will be on an official visit. The airplane of the head of state took off from the National Airport Minsk, BelTA has learned.

On 16 April the head of state will hold talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There will be a narrow-participation meeting as well as an extended meeting with members of the delegations in attendance. According to the press service of the Belarusian leader, the parties will discuss politics, trade and economic relations and new mutually beneficial projects. Top on the agenda will be investment cooperation and ways to balance out bilateral trade.

On the same day, business people from the two countries will meet in Ankara to discuss ongoing and new projects across various fields.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency of Turkey, Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke about the agenda of the forthcoming negotiations with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “We will talk about joint projects, joint investment, and more intensive and balanced trade,” the president said.

“Frankly speaking, the political, diplomatic, humanitarian, and recently cultural relations between our states have significantly outpaced economic ties and trade. Our trade is estimated at a billion dollars but we can do much better. By the way, Belarus is running a large deficit in trade. We should aim for parity and balance in export/import operations,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
 
According to the head of state, Belarus wants to have as warm and friendly relations with Turkey as with Russia. Why not? You have very good relations with Russia now. Why should our relations be worse or have a lower profile. This should not be the case. Together with President Erdogan we will raise the level of our relations so that they will even outmatch your relations with the Russian Federation. Over the years we have identified the points of contact, the positions we should work on today. We are determined to do it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The trade turnover between the two countries reached $984 million last year (up 5% from the level of 2017). However, Belarus’ trade deficit made up $618 million. Belarus’ major exports are potash fertilizers, nitrile compounds, synthetic treads, linen fabrics, polycarboxylic acids, plain steel wires, cordwood, and newsprint. Turkey exports farm produce, textiles and fabrics, synthetic threads, footwear and clothes, parts and components for automobile and tractor equipment to Belarus.

In 2018 Turkey invested $43.1 million in the Belarusian economy. More than 300 enterprises with the Turkish capital are registered in Belarus.

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