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Opinions & Interviews

29 Mar 2019

Kurz in favor of long-term cooperation between Austria, Belarus

Kurz in favor of long-term cooperation between Austria, Belarus

MINSK, 29 March (BelTA) – Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria Sebastian Kurz reaffirmed his commitment to building good and long-term relations between Austria and Belarus as he met with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on 29 March, BelTA has learned.

“I feel very good in your country. It is very important for me to make sure that Austria, as part of the European Union, will be able to build good and long-term relations with your country. I believe that it was an absolutely right decision of yours to get closer to the European Union without damaging your partner relations with Russia. In my view, this win-win approach is much more productive than taking one side, which can have a negative impact. This pertains not only to your country, but also to other nations in the region,” the federal chancellor said.

Sebastian Kurz stated that the two countries have developed good bilateral relations, including in the economic sector. Austria is among the biggest investors in Belarus. “I am very glad that our companies will further have an opportunity to meet with you and hold talks,” he noted.

The federal chancellor noted that the Austrian delegation visiting Belarus includes the head of A1 Telekom Austria Group that operates in Belarus.

Belarus-Austria trade made up $171.4 million in 2018. Belarus’ major exports to Austria are products from base metals, timber and products of the woodworking industry, petroleum products. Belarus’ major imports from Austria are investment goods (mostly machines and equipment), medicines and vaccines. The export of services to Austria was estimated at $116.1 million in 2018, with transportation sector accounting for 78% of it.

Austria has long been among the biggest investors in the Belarusian economy. In 2018 Belarus raised $296.7 million in investment from Austria. New investment projects totaling over $500 million are being discussed with Kronospan, A1 Telekom Austria Group and Lenzing (viscose staple fiber producer).

Belarus is home to 83 companies with Austrian capital (48 joint ventures and 35 foreign companies), as well as 20 offices of Austrian organizations. A number of Belarusian companies have offices in Austria. They are the Belavia national air carrier and three trading companies: Belmet Handelsgesellschaft, RMZ Vertriebsgesellschaft (both were set up with the help of BMZ), and SolTrade (Belaruskali).

The legal framework of Belarus-Austria relations features 16 agreements.

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