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Opinions & Interviews

21 Jun 2019

Lukashenko advocates further improvement of Belarus-UK relations

Lukashenko advocates further improvement of Belarus-UK relations

MINSK, 21 June (BelTA) - The relations between Belarus and the United Kingdom could be much better, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with UK Trade Policy Minister George Hollingbery in Minsk on 21 June, BelTA has learned.

“It is a pleasure for me to meet with you today. Maybe it is not the meeting during which we can profoundly discuss the issues of our relations but nevertheless, this meeting is very important. Maybe it is even historically important because, despite the volume of trade and economic cooperation which we have today, the relations between Belarus and the United Kingdom could be better, much better, frankly speaking,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president recalled that the Belarusian delegation headed by Prime Minister Sergei Rumas has recently visited the UK where it had several productive meetings. First of all the parties discussed the development of bilateral relations in trade and economy. “Your government has done a lot to make these events successful. I personally thank you for being attentive to the Belarusian delegation  and contributing to achieving the goals that we set before this visit,” the head of state noted.

Speaking about the international agenda, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that he does not support the UK’s exit from the European Union. However, proceeding from state positions, we can see many positive things in the Brexit, the president said. “First of all, you are becoming more flexible as you do not depend on nearly three dozen European Union voices. For us, this is beneficial because we can develop relations between the UK and Belarus in a more flexible and efficient way,” the president said.

For his part, George Hollingbery thanked for the opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting with the Belarusian head of state. You are absolutely correct and rightly pointed out that the United Kingdom has a keen interest in Belarus. Despite the fact that our meeting is limited in time, yet, I have a large number of meetings and negotiations scheduled with representatives of the Belarusian government. I have repeatedly met with the Ambassador [of Belarus] to the United Kingdom. We have a very good relationship,” the minister said.

He said he had already had a fruitful meeting with the deputy minister of foreign affairs of Belarus. The parties discussed further cooperation in trade. On 20 June, George Hollingbery visited the Hi-Tech Park.

Over the past several years the UK has been ranked third in Belarus’ exports. In 2018, the trade between the two countries totaled $3.4 billion. Belarus posted a trade surplus of $2.8 billion. The UK foreign direct investment made up $2.7 billion in 2018. The UK goes second after Russia in terms of FDI in the Belarusian economy (31.7% of the total).
 
Belarus’ major exports to the UK include oil products, coal-tar products, non-alloy steel wire, crude lead, furniture, liquid crystal devices and lasers, aluminum metalwork. Belarus imports the UK conventional engines, strong drinks, cars, medications, car and tractor parts, turbojet engines, orthopedic devices, electric transformers, road and construction machinery, frozen fish. 

Belarus is home to 211 companies with the UK capital. There is a subsidiary of the Belarusian Oil Company, a representation of Belavia air carrier, companies of Adani Group, and the Development Bank of Belarus in the UK.

Team UK at the 2nd European Games will comprise 101 athletes and 86 coaches. The UK will compete in acrobatics, badminton, boxing, rhythmic gymnastics, canoe sprint, athletics, trampoline, and archery. Team UK placed third in the medal standings of the 1st European Games.

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