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11 Jul 2017

Lukashenko supports proposal to expand study of Chinese language in Belarus

Lukashenko supports proposal to expand study of Chinese language in BelarusMINSK, 11 July (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko supported the proposal to expand the study of the Chinese language in Belarus voiced at a meeting to discuss Belarus’ foreign policy priorities on 11 July, BelTA has learned.

“I fully support the proposal. All your suggestions will be considered, and relevant decisions will be made. Make sure that all these decisions are formalized by September, from the study of the Chinese language (we are, indeed, lagging behind) to tourism that we have talked about a lot today,” the head of state said as he commented on the report by Belarus’ Ambassador to China Kirill Rudy.

The diplomat said that the language barrier is one of the obstacles that hamper the development of cooperation. This is particularly relevant considering that the access of products to the Chinese market – applications, contracts – are drawn up in Chinese, and there is a shortage of specialists. “Today it is becoming a necessity for everyone. In many countries, the Chinese language is now a second foreign language, if not on par with English. In this light, we suggest expanding its study at schools and universities,” Kirill Rudy noted.

The diplomat named China the fastest growing market in the world. There are good prospects for increasing the supply of food products to China. China has recently opened its market to 36 Belarusian dairy companies and 26 Belarusian producers of beef and poultry.

Kirill Rudy drew attention to the system of presence in the market of China. For example, if a Belarusian dairy sells goods from a warehouse in Belarus, rather than independently in China, its returns on sales will be 5-10%, 20% at most. “At the same time, Chinese companies get 70% on every liter they resell in China,” the ambassador said.

In this context, he urged Belarusian producers to set up operations in China, for instance, to organize bottling, make packaging in accordance with the Chinese requirements, to make way into the local retail networks, and open representative offices.

Another area is the export of tourist services. “China is the world’s largest supplier of tourists. The embassy found a strategic partner, and is working on easing the visa rules. Starting September, Belarus will host first groups of tourists organized with the new partners,” Kirill Rudy noted. He also suggested declaring 2018 the Year of Tourism in the Belarusian-Chinese relations, and declaring similar years of tourism between the twinned regions and provinces. 2018 was declared the Year of Tourism in the relations between China and the EU. “We can become part of the European routes of Chinese tourists who will make a stopover in Belarus for 2 to 3 days. Hence I suggest easing the passport and customs controls, improving the language environment,” the diplomat said.

Work is underway to promote the Belarusian machinery in the Chinese market. In this regard, we are working on obtaining new subsidies in a number of provinces. We already have potential partners for setting up joint ventures. The ambassador also suggested streamlining the presence of the missions of the Belarusian state-run companies abroad, in particular putting the embassies in the host countries in charge of opening and closing such offices and appointing their chiefs.

Kirill Rudy also sees the future in a free trade zone between the Great Stone park and China. “Simplifying the trade regime could make the park and the export from it to China more attractive,” he said.

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