MINSK, 26 November (BelTA) - Belarus and Armenia have reserves to increase mutual trade, Belarusian Forestry Minister, co-chairman of the Belarusian-Armenian intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation Vitaly Drozhzha said at a meeting of the commission, BelTA has learned.
“The main priorities in Belarus-Armenia trade and economic cooperation are to strengthen the positions of Belarusian and Armenian exporters in the markets of our states, to expand the distribution network, and to advance cooperation in agriculture, science and technology. This year's foreign trade statistics indicate that we need to make significant efforts to restore bilateral trade. In January-September of this year, it decreased by 4.5%. There are significant reserves that our countries can tap to boost trade," said Vitaly Drozhzha.
He said that the extensive way of developing trade by increasing supplies of traditional commodities is becoming obsolete and urged to pay more attention to cooperation projects. "This guarantees us long-term and fruitful cooperation, not so dependent on market trends and fluctuations as trade," the minister stressed.
In January-September 2021 Belarus' major export items were dairy products, furniture, computers for automatic information processing and medicines. In turn, Belarus imports alcoholic beverages, waste and scrap copper, and other goods from Armenia.
Armenian investments in the Belarusian economic have been increasing too. In H12021, they amounted to $10.6 million (up by 16.4%). There are 46 enterprises with Armenian participation in Belarus, including 11 joint ventures and 35 foreign organizations.
The previous meeting of the intergovernmental commission took place a little more than a year ago. Then the parties outlined projects and targets, which made it possible to maintain vibrant bilateral cooperation amid the pandemic. In 2020, bilateral trade amounted to $82.3 million, up more than 13% from 2019. Belarus' exports grew by more than 9% to $57.5 million, with trade surplus making up $32.7 million. “The frequency of flights between Minsk and Yerevan has been increased. Today, flights are performed daily,” Vitaly Drozhzha said.
The Belarusian elevator producer Mogilevliftmash supplied 500 sets of elevator equipment to Armenia under Yerevan's elevator upgrading program. The work is underway to set up a joint elevator assembly plant in Armenia. The two countries increased mutual supplies of agricultural and food products. The two countries maintain and further develop cooperation between the institutions of education, healthcare and science of the two countries. The Belarusian Education Ministry and the Armenian Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport have agreed upon a cooperation program. “The epidemiological situation however prevented us from carrying out a number of activities, such as an exchange of visits of the delegations. I hope that we will be able to fill in this gap,” the minister said.
Armenia's Minister of Economy and Co-Chairman of the Intergovernmental Commission Vahan Kerobyan said that Belarus and Armenia have great potential for cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union. “There are many issues where our interests coincide and we can jointly promote them in the EAEU. I would also like to mention opportunities for our cooperation in the international arena. Yesterday, for example, we discussed trade opportunities with Iran, China and other countries. Another important point is the implementation of the Armenian government's programs on the development of infrastructure and industry. There are great opportunities for Belarusian companies in this area. Cooperation projects will be of particular importance to our countries today,” he stressed.