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Opinions & Interviews

29 Mar 2019

Lukashenko on meeting with Kurz: Talks highlighted economic cooperation

Lukashenko on meeting with Kurz: Talks highlighted economic cooperation

MINSK, 29 March (BelTA) – The main topic of our talks with Austria’s Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was economic cooperation, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko told the media after the meeting on 29 March, BelTA has learned.

“I am very impressed by the Austrian chancellor's detailed familiarity with the trade and economic situation between Belarus and Austria, despite him being so young, and his good knowledge of economic matters in general. These were not just political discussions between me and the Austrian chancellor. We primarily talked about economic issues,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The president stressed that Austria is one of Belarus’ leading investment partners and plays an important role in the modernization of a number of the country’s economic sectors, including woodworking, telecommunications, and the banking sector. Last year, Austria invested about $300 million in Belarus.

“We look forward to further expansion of cooperation with Austria in all outlined and other promising and innovative venues," said the head of state. He added that the economic cooperation will be discussed in detail at the meeting of the Austrian delegation with the prime minister and members of the Belarusian government.

“I hope for the continuation of our contacts and the progressive development of the Belarusian-Austrian relations,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

In 2018, the trade between Belarus an Austria totaled $171.4 million. Belarus’ main exports included products made of basic metals, products of timber and woodworking industry, and oil products. Supplies to Belarus comprised investment goods (mainly, machinery and equipment), medications and vaccines. The export of services to Austria (transport sector accounted for 78%) made up $116.1 million in 2018.  
Austria is among the world’s biggest investors in the Belarusian economy. A total of $296.7 million of investment were injected in 2018. New investment projects are developed with the participation of Kronospan, A1 Telekom Austria Group and Lenzing (production of wood-based viscose fibers) to the total amount exceeding $500 million.

In Belarus there are 83 companies with the Austrian capital (48 joint ventures and 35 foreign firms) and also 20 representations of Austrian organizations. In Austria there is an office of Belavia Airlines, and also three trading companies: BELMET Handelsgesellschaft and RMZ Vertriebsgesellschaft (both with the participation of OAO BMZ), and SolTrade (OAO Belaruskali).

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