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10 Nov 2023

Lukashenko: Belarus-Cuba economic cooperation should match level of political relations

Lukashenko: Belarus-Cuba economic cooperation should match level of political relations

MINSK, 10 November (BelTA) - The level of economic cooperation between Belarus and Cuba should correspond to the level of political relations and humanitarian cooperation, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz in Minsk on 10 November, BelTA has learned

"I am happy to welcome the envoy of the Island of Freedom in Belarus. I don't think there is any need to say much to characterize the Belarusian-Cuban relations. We have always maintained warm and friendly relations. You should know that we will continue to adhere to these approaches," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

The head of state noted that at the diplomatic and political level (one can even say at the ideological level) the countries adhere to the same approaches and share similar views. "But you, as a practical person who heads the government, understand perfectly well that the basis of all this is the economy," the president noted. “Preparing for this meeting and studying the entire range of trade and economic relations, I understood that we need to work harder to raise economic and trade cooperation to the level of political relations. There is only one conclusion on my part: trade and economic relations are lagging far behind political and humanitarian ones."

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, some issues have not been resolved for decades. They are being discussed at various levels, but no progress has been made so far. "We need to take stock of our relations and identify the areas in which we will cooperate and solve the problems have remained unaddressed so far," the Belarusian leader said.

The Cuban head of government arrived in Belarus on an official visit on 9 November. He is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko, leaders of both chambers of the Belarusian Parliament and members of the National Assembly's working group on cooperation with the Cuban Parliament. While on a visit to Belarus, Manuel Marrero Cruz will learn more about the capabilities of the Belarusian manufacturing sector and meat and dairy industries.

This year, trade between Belarus and Cuba has gained momentum. In January-September, trade reached $10.5 million, with the growth rate hitting 307% year-on-year. The surplus for Belarus has increased almost 9 times to total almost $8 million. The export of services is also growing (by more than 20%): in January-July it amounted to $155,200. Last year Belarus provided business services to Cuba. This year these are mostly telecommunications, computer and information services.

The two countries are working to increase mutual trade. In July, a Belarusian delegation headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Aleinik paid an official visit to Cuba. Then the parties discussed the entire range of Belarusian-Cuban relations and ways to intensify them, including through the mechanism of the bilateral commission on trade and economic cooperation. Traditionally, special attention was paid to the supply of Belarusian equipment and spare parts, popular food products and other Belarusian goods. During the meetings, the Belarusian-Cuban cooperation and promising joint projects in the field of science, biotechnology and pharmacology were discussed in great detail.

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