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Opinions & Interviews

13 May 2019

Belarus ready to share SDG-related experience with Latvia

Belarus ready to share SDG-related experience with Latvia

MINSK, 13 May (BelTA) – Belarus is ready to share its experience in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with Latvia, BelTA learned from Deputy Chairwoman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus, National Coordinator for SDGs Marianna Shchetkina before the senator met with MPs of the Latvian Saeima on 13 May. The Latvian delegation was led by Head of the Sustainable Development Committee Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis.

Latvia has started working out a national development strategy for 2021-2027 and has expressed interest in Belarusian experience in this area. “Our Latvian partners want to learn more about our approaches to sustainable development and we will be happy to share our experience. Belarus is interested not only in economic and humanitarian matters, but also in the environmental component. We want to discuss the preservation of transboundary water resources, green technologies and green economy,” Marianna Shchetkina noted. She said that Belarus is implementing the social and economic development strategy until 2030 and is working on a similar document on sustainable development until 2035.

In turn, Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis said that Latvia is interested in Belarus’ experience in IT because the latter has achieved significant progress in this sector. Latvia is also interested in discussing cooperation in matters relating to the transportation of Belarusian cargoes via Latvian ports and is ready to offer advantageous terms. The advancement of Belarus-China relations is also being looked into. To get first-hand information on these matters, the delegation visited the Hi-Tech Park and the China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone on 13 May.

Participants of the meeting noted that Belarus-Latvia relations in general and the interparliamentary dialogue in particular are based on mutual trust. The interaction has become more significant and systemic recently. Belarusian and Latvian MPs intend to continue working to step up trade and investment cooperation. Belarusian senators thanked their Latvian counterparts for the support in the EU and expressed hope that the trust-based interparliamentary relations will give act as a catalyst of cooperation in other areas as well. The parties also discussed the organization of the IIHF World Championship which Minsk and Riga will co-host in 2021. In particular, the need to develop interesting Belarusian-Latvian routes, which are supposed to be open for visa-free travel to championship ticket holders.

Latvia is Belarus’ important trade partner and a large transit corridor for Belarusian export to third countries. As of 2018, Latvia was the 14th largest partner of Belarus in terms of trade and the 10th in terms of export (with a 1.4% share). The bilateral trade amounted to $582.7 million (32.9% up from 2017). Belarus had a trade surplus of $388.5 million.

In 2018, the Belarusian economy attracted $107.5 million in investment from Latvia, including $82.1 million in direct investment. Latvian investors take interest in projects in trade, service sector, pharmacy, woodworking, food and other industries. There are 585 enterprises in Belarus with Latvian capital. In June 2018, the Belarusian and Latvian governments adopted an action plan to advance cooperation across the areas which have earlier been defined as promising. They include medical tourism, motorway service, technology, food industry, and woodworking industry.

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