MINSK, 8 April (BelTA) – The first round of negotiations over the agreement on investments and trade in services between Belarus and China was held online on 7 April, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian Economy Ministry.
Taking part in the negotiations were representatives of the economy ministries of the two countries, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission of China, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation.
The parties pointed out the strategic nature of the agreement and approved the terms of reference for the negotiations (fundamental principles and goals, areas, and mechanism of interaction). They also discussed certain matters regarding some sections of the agreement, including the ones related to trade in services, investments, and intellectual property protection.
In order to ensure profound and comprehensive work on the most important sections of the agreement, plans are in place to set up three working groups: on trade in services, investments and intellectual property, e-commerce.
Belarus and China steadily strengthen the bilateral relations, the press service noted. Their efforts to expand the Belarusian-Chinese trade and economic cooperation helped avoid a decline in foreign trade in goods and services, which exceeded $5 billion in 2020. Despite the pandemic, the trade in 2020 did not drop lower than the peak level of trade in 2019, and Belarus-China foreign trade in services went up by 16%. China is one of Belarus' biggest trading partners, second only to Russia.
“Signing the agreement is one of the most important steps in further expansion and strengthening of Belarus-China trade and economic cooperation. The parties are keen to advance cooperation focusing on investments, tapping into industrial capacities of the two countries, and boosting bilateral trade in a balanced way,” the Belarusian Economy Ministry stressed.