MINSK, 24 November (BelTA) – Belarus-Kazakhstan trade totaled around $666 million in January-September 2020, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Kazakhstan Pavel Utyupin said as he took part in the online session of the Belarus-Kazakhstan Business Council, BelTA has learned.
“Kazakhstan is our strategic trade partner. Belarus ranks third among the CIS member states in terms of export to Kazakhstan, and this speaks volumes. According to the Belarusian statistics, in January-September 2020, the trade amounted to around $666 million, 98% of the trade in the same period of last year,” the ambassador noted.
According to him, Belarus' traditional exports to Kazakhstan include tractors, machinery, harvesters, furniture, and pharmaceutical, milk, and meat products. Kazakhstan supplies to Belarus cotton fiber, rails, unprocessed zinc, flat-rolled products, and oil products.
“The range of exports has decreased this year. For example, Belarus has exported 715 products to the market of Kazakhstan this year, while last year this number was at 775. However, it is still much more than in 2017 or 2018, which proves that our trade and economic relations have the basis and potential for revival. We were happy to notice a growth in shipments of chilled beef, sugar, special-purpose vehicles, medicines, cheese, and quark. Export of products of the mechanical engineering industry slightly shrank,” Ambassador Pavel Utyupin said.
In order to invigorate trade, according to the ambassador, Belarus and Kazakhstan should intensify industrial cooperation, establish more joint ventures, and strengthen cooperation in agriculture, construction, and transport. “For example, plans are in place to find a contractor in Kazakhstan to produce firefighting equipment. We should also come to a decision to set up a joint enterprise to make road-building machines. Belarusian veterinary medicine manufacturers have suggested setting up joint ventures in Kazakhstan. Of course, we should also continue developing the existing industrial platforms, expand the range of jointly produced machines, increase localization, and enhance technological cooperation,” the ambassador noted. He believes that Belarus and Kazakhstan should look into opportunities to step up cooperation in construction.
For his part, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Belarus Askar Beisenbayev noted that this year international trade has declined due to the global economic crisis and the pandemic. “These factors have also affected the trade between our countries, but I hope that this is temporary. Last year, the trade stood at $1 billion, and this is not the limit. This figure should be much bigger – there is room for improvement. It is important to develop cooperation, hold meetings and forums of regions of Belarus and Kazakhstan, because this area holds great potential,” Ambassador Askar Beisenbayev said.
He expressed hope that this session of the Business Council will help establish ties between businesses of the two countries, boost mutual trade, and reduce the gap in the trade balance.