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15 December 2021, 16:20

Interregional cooperation seen as cornerstone for mutual trade in CIS

MOGILEV, 15 December (BelTA) - Interregional cooperation is the cornerstone for the development of mutual trade, Mogilev Vice Governor Ruslan Strakhar said during the tenth meeting of the CIS Council for Interregional and Cross-Border Cooperation, BelTA has learned.

"Much attention is paid to strengthening interregional cooperation in the CIS countries. It is interregional cooperation that is the cornerstone for the further development of mutual trade. It leads to cooperation in the market of production, investment and labor resources. Belarusian regions have signed more than 800 documents on cooperation in trade, economy, science, technology and humanitarian affairs with the CIS member states. In January-October of this year, the foreign trade of Belarus with the CIS countries exceeded $39 billion, having increased by 36% year-on-year," he said.

According to Ruslan Strakhar, most of all Belarus cooperates with the Russian Federation. "Belarus and Russia share a border and are close nations spiritually and culturally. This is why Russian regions account for about 80% of interregional documents of the Republic of Belarus. Each of the regions has its own unique, friendly relations with Russian regions which have been built, among other things, on personal contacts. It does not always depend on the geographical proximity. For example, Mogilev Oblast has close contacts with Primorsky Krai of the Russian Federation. This year's biggest event was the Days of the Republic of Belarus in Primorsky Krai in Vladivostok from 4 to 11 October under the auspices of Mogilev Oblast. The event included a fair of Belarusian goods, an exhibition of vehicles, a business forum and online events. As a result, the trade with Primorsky Krai surged by more than 75%," he said.

One of the most successful forms of experience exchange was the bilateral forums of regions of the CIS countries. This year saw the eighth Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia. As a result, more than 20 agreements were signed between the regions of the two countries and 20 - between higher education institutions.

In addition, Belarus has about 20 documents on interregional cooperation with Kazakhstan. "This year, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko visited Kazakhstan. The visit contributed to interregional cooperation. The parties signed a package of contracts and agreements, among them a roadmap for the development of cooperation between Grodno Oblast and Kostanay Region for 2022-2023," Ruslan Strakhar said.

Uzbekistan is also among active partners of Belarus. "Now we are considering opening a trading house of Uzbek goods in Mogilev Oblast," he said.

Cooperation with the regions of Azerbaijan continues, and cultural exchanges are underway. The international InterFood fair in Baku is important for Belarusian manufacturers.

"The meeting is an excellent opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics: from mutual trade to education to culture. The regions act as locomotives of integration. The most important task is to create a belt of good neighborliness along our borders. Trade and economic cooperation with the CIS countries plays an important role for the Republic of Kazakhstan. In January-October the trade amounted to $26 billion," said Alibek Kuantyrov, Vice Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan.

The council also discussed preparations for the first CIS Forum of Regions. The concept of the forum has already been worked out. A draft program has also been prepared to include four panel sessions, exhibition of agricultural products and achievements of CIS regions. Sessions will discuss development of interregional cooperation in industry, transport and transit, agriculture and business. Because of the epidemic situation, a proposal has been made to postpone the forum until 2022 and hold it in-person.

The meeting was held via a video conference. The moderator was Uzbekistan. Belarus has taken over the presidency in the Council for 2022. The next meeting will be held in H2 2022.

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