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Opinions & Interviews

18 Feb 2019

PM: Belarus, EU may restore bilateral trade of almost $27bn in 2019

PM: Belarus, EU may restore bilateral trade of almost $27bn in 2019

MINSK, 18 February (BelTA) – Belarus and the European Union may restore the record high mutual trade of $26.9 billion that was reached by the parties in 2012, Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said as he met with European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Gunther Oettinger on 18 February, BelTA has learned.

“Belarus-EU relations have been vibrant recently. Last year we had good figures in bilateral trade. The Belarusian exports to the European Union grew 30%. If we continue like this, we will be able to reach the maximum of 2012 ($26.9 billion) in 2019,” Sergei Rumas said.

The prime minister praised cooperation with financial institutions of the European Union. The European Investment Bank has agreed on €110 million worth of investment projects for Belarus. Belarus has been developing cooperation with the EBRD.

Belarus knows that the European Union is going to adopt a new budget for 2021-2027 and plans to expand financial cooperation with the neighboring countries. Sergei Rumas expressed hope that Belarus will also take part in joint programs with the European Union.

Belarus has intensified negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organization and hopes for the support from the European Union, the negotiations with which are still underway. “We hope that the EU’s position will be constructive and we will be able to complete it as quickly as possible,” the head of government added.

According to Gunther Oettinger, the past ten years have seen positive momentum. “It can be continued into 2019 and 2020, used for the implementation of joint projects and searching for all-win solutions. We would like to know your position and also present ours in order to come to a decision which will be mutually acceptable for all the parties,” the European commissioner said.

The European Union is the second biggest market for Belarusian products. The EU accounted for 30.2% of Belarus’ export in 2018 (26.8% in 2017). Last year Belarus-EU trade amounted to $17.3 billion, up by nearly 20% over 2017. The Belarusian import made up $7.1 billion, up 7.4% year-on-year.

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