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Belarus-Russia trade balance skewed by slow troubleshooting

Economy 13.12.2018 | 17:20
The session in progress
The session in progress

BREST, 13 December (BelTA) – The slow resolution of problems Belarus deems important has resulted in misbalanced trade with Russia. Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas made the statement during the session of the Council of Ministers of the Union State of Belarus and Russia in Brest on 13 December, BelTA has learned.

Sergei Rumas said: “Bilateral trade has been and remains the key indicator of bilateral relations. Unfortunately, misbalance in Belarus-Russia merchandise trade grew stronger in 2018. In January-October the deficit of the mutual trade rose by $3.3 billion. Slow progress in resolving the economic problems the Belarusian side deems important is the reason.”

Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas
Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas

Import restrictions imposed by the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of Russia (Rosselkhoznadzor) on Belarusian agribusiness products were also mentioned as a problem. Sergei Rumas also mentioned the prohibition for Belarusian companies to participate in government procurement procedures for defense and security purposes in Russia, restrictions on participation in Russian programs, which subsidize purchases of agricultural machines. These and other problems will be discussed at the Council of Ministers session today.

Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas
Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas

Building a barrier-free environment for Belarusian and Russian commercial entities remains the key task. According to Sergei Rumas, an optimal scheme for addressing problems has been created in the Union State of Belarus and Russia in the form of working groups focusing on key areas of cooperation. The groups have been able to shorten the list of problems interfering with access to the markets of Belarus and Russia.

Further development of small and medium businesses in the Union State of Belarus and Russia is one of the items on today's agenda. The Belarusian head of government believes it is important to coordinate joint efforts aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship initiative and share the best practices.

Future development of the Union State of Belarus and Russia remains high on the agenda. “The main document in this regard is the priority guidelines and top-priority tasks for the future development of the Union State of Belarus and Russia in the medium term. We view this document as a renewed strategy on integration advancement. We hope its implementation will allow directing internal reserves of the two countries towards stronger allied relations,” noted Sergei Rumas.

Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev
Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev

Participants of the session in Brest are also expected to discuss the formation of the common legal field in the Union State of Belarus and Russia and ways to further harmonize legislation. Social and humanitarian affairs will be discussed, including preparations for celebrating the 75th anniversary of Belarus' liberation from the Nazi invaders and the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.

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