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Opinions & Interviews

19 Apr 2017

Kravchenko: Belarus and Serbia will strengthen economic cooperation

Kravchenko: Belarus and Serbia will strengthen economic cooperation

BELGRADE, 19 April (BelTA) - Belarus and Serbia will be strengthening economic cooperation amid stiff competition in the world, Belarus Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Kravchenko said when speaking at a meeting of the Belarusian-Serbian intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation, BelTA has learned.

“Friendly and time-tested ties between Belarus and Serbia make a reliable basis of our cooperation. Belarusian diplomacy attaches great importance to the further development of a number of joint cooperation projects in industry and agriculture, and to the search for new growth points. In order to maintain and increase the economic growth amid today’s tough competition and sometimes outside pressure not associated with market relations, we need to intensify the search for common ground and links in the areas that will benefit both Belarus and Serbia,” Oleg Kravchenko said.

According to Oleg Kravchenko, the driving force behind the mutual trade growth is the free trade agreement between Belarus and Serbia. With the support of the Serbian business, Belarusian producers of tractors, trucks, buses, trolleybuses are strengthening their positions. “With the support of the diplomatic mission in Serbia, we will do our utmost to make the full use of the economic potential of bilateral cooperation. Businessmen wishing to cooperate with Belarus will always receive the necessary information and support,” he noted.

Fundamentally new opportunities for bilateral economic cooperation open up within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Belarus is the westernmost part of this economic association, shares a long border with the EU, has a well-developed infrastructure, a highly educated workforce and makes an ideal springboard to the EAEU market. It is a market with a population of over 180 million. The Eurasian Economic Union common market and the free trade regime between the two countries greatly increases the opportunities for the development of economic relations,” Oleg Kravchenko believes.

He also noted that last year experts of the Eurasian Economic Commission began consultations, with the participation of Belarus, with representatives of the government bodies of Serbia on the unification of the trade regime between the EAEU member states and the Republic of Serbia.

In January-February 2017 the trade between Belarus and Serbia amounted to $23.8 million, up 62.2% from the same period 2016. Belarusian export to Serbia rose by 42.5% and totaled $10.9 million. Import from Serbia grew by 83.8% to $12.9 million.

“Given the complementarity of our economies, the trade is still small compared to the available potential. The presidents of our states initiated the idea of developing long-term cooperation within the framework of industrial cooperation and trade. The governments and regions actively supported this idea,” Oleg Kravchenko said. He expressed confidence that by joint efforts the countries will ensure positive dynamics of trade and economic relations, and the meeting of the commission will be conducive to promoting the integration and complementarity between the economies, and to bolstering trade and economic ties between Belarus and Serbia.

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