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Opinions & Interviews

3 Oct 2019

Ambassador: Belarus-Ukraine trade remains vibrant

Ambassador: Belarus-Ukraine trade remains vibrant

ZHITOMIR, 3 October (BelTA) – Belarus and Ukraine maintain vibrant trade and economic cooperation, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Ukraine Igor Sokol said during the eighth session of the Belarus-Ukraine advisory council on business cooperation on 3 October, BelTA has learned.

“Belarus and Ukraine maintain active trade and economic cooperation and have managed to prevent a trade slowdown. Our countries remain reliable trade partners. While our country is the fifth largest market for you, Ukraine is the second largest market for Belarus. We still have a free trade regime and no investment restrictions. We broadly use various dialogue platforms to facilitate bilateral cooperation,” the ambassador said.

He cited the latest statistics of Belarus-Ukraine trade and economic cooperation. Bilateral trade totaled $3.8 billion in January-August 2019, which is up 4% year on year. Belarusian exports declined slightly (0.7%) and amounted to $2.7 billion. Ukrainian exports to Belarus grew by 17.5% and amounted to $1.1 billion.

According to Igor Sokol, the trade growth is largely attributed to stability and predictability of the good-neighborly relations of Belarus and Ukraine. “That is why, despite pessimistic forecasts, participation of Belarus and Ukraine in different integration projects resulted in even greater cooperation,” he stated.

“I just want to say one thing to our Ukrainian partners. Belarus, like no other country, is an ardent lobbyist for Ukraine in the Eurasian Economic Commission,” the diplomat said referring to some reciprocal restrictions, including those restrictions that were imposed within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

The ambassador identified the key priorities of the bilateral cooperation. They are oil and gas industry and energy sector. Great attention is paid to industrial cooperation and there are promising agreements in this area. “The parties discussed practical aspects of expanding cooperation and setting up new enterprises to produce MAZ vehicles in Ukraine’s Zaporozhie Oblast and Vinnitsa Oblast. There are agreements on joint projects in the Ukrainian city of Dnepr with the participation of Minsk Tractor Works and Minsk Motor Plant. However, certain support is needed to carry out these projects and to scale up cooperation within the framework of functioning assembly plants. Establishing equal conditions is crucial for this,” Igor Sokol highlighted.

He welcomed participation of enterprises of the two countries in infrastructure projects. Belarusian road construction companies actively participate in construction and rehabilitation of the Ukrainian road network. These companies are expanding their presence in Ukraine and their work elicited positive response from Ukraine.

Igor Sokol highlighted active cooperation in mutual deliveries of agro-industrial products. “We believe, possibilities for expanding cooperation in this area are far from being exhausted,” he said.

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