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Opinions & Interviews

14 Jun 2016

Export promotion program expected to become effective tool in new economic environment

Export promotion program expected to become effective tool in new economic environment

MINSK, 14 June (BelTA) - The national export promotion program for 2016-2020 should become an effective tool in the new economic environment, Belarus Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said during a meeting of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers, which examined the export promotion and diversification efforts in 2016-2020, BelTA has learned.

“Export is a priority of national importance, which is why the national export promotion program based on the previous programs, international export promotion practices and, most importantly, proposals of the real economy sector, regions or business associations, should be an effective instrument in the new economic environment,” Andrei Kobyakov said.

According to him, the export of goods and services is projected to increase by 3.5% in 2016 and by 1.1% in the first quarter. In fact, it made up 83.9% in January-April. “In quantitative terms, we export more than last year. In January-April the physical volume of exports rose by 2.2% as compared to the same period in 2015. In natural terms our exports have a positive dynamics,” the Premier explained.

The Belarusian head of government stated that the situation is similar with the export to Russia, the strategic market for Belarus. “In value terms, the export made up 93.6%, while in physical terms the deliveries increased by 5.9%. However, in order to remain competitive in the Russian market our enterprises need to work more actively to reduce production costs, to offer a more flexible pricing policy,” he said.

Andrei Kobyakov noted that Russia and Kazakhstan, the main partners of Belarus in the Eurasian Economic Union, are actively creating the production facilities that will soon be able to replace Belarusian goods. “I would like to hear how the Economy Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Academy of Sciences are adjusting the plans to develop our industries with a view to the actions of our major trading and economic partners in the Eurasian Economic Union, what we can offer in addition to traditional products - petrochemicals and fertilizers - on the promising markets, what export-oriented manufactures we need to develop in 2016-2020,” the Prime Minister said.

According to him, the dynamics of Belarusian export to the European market is negative. The export of energy goods, certain types of metal products, machine-building products has significantly decreased. The data on exports to China is disturbing. “Why has the work on assembly plants not yet yielded the expected results? What are our plans in this regard,” Andrei Kobyakov asked.

“The Iranian market is opening up as the sanctions have been removed. This creates additional opportunities that our exporters do not hurry to take advantage of. We have not offered Iran any new products while the supply of traditional goods such as tires, synthetic fibers, trucks decreased. We need to fundamentally restructure approaches to the trade and economic cooperation with that country. I am waiting for thoughtful proposals and actions,” the Prime Minister said.

A situation is similar with Vietnam. Export has dropped significantly. One of the main reasons is obvious: low level of export diversification. Potash fertilizers and vehicles account for the lion’s share. Situation needs to be corrected, especially in view of the creation of a free trade area and an agreement on industrial assembly,” the head of government noted.

Andrei Kobyakov noted that after the lifting of the sanctions the Belarusian export to Canada increased more than 11 times in Q1. “The trend is very positive. I would like the Industry Ministry, Belneftekhim to report on the effort to start supplying dump trucks, OTR tires,” he said.

The work to provide information support to export promotion efforts merits close attention. “We need to introduce the most advanced technologies for the dissemination of information on the opportunities and achievements of Belarus,” the Belarusian Prime Minister said.

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