MINSK, 30 June (BelTA) – Italy intends to increase the volume of trade with Belarus in 2020 to €1 billion. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Italy to Belarus Mario Giorgio Stefano Baldi made the statement during an online seminar held on 30 June to discuss Belarus-Italy economic cooperation amid global challenges, BelTA has learned.
The ambassador said: “We should maintain mutual interest in the sphere of economy. The situation is complicated by the coronavirus at present. Italian companies need new markets and opportunities to expand its business. In turn, Belarus has been able to preserve balance, the economic situation is under control. So, we will try to resume our activity in full and will try to reach a trade turnover of €1 billion between our countries even in such a complicated year.”
Italy is interested in cooperation with Belarus in various branches of the economy in which Italian enterprises are internationally recognized leaders. Those include power engineering, innovative technologies, pharmaceutics, and civil engineering. “These are some of the examples of the innovative sectors we would like to focus on. Certainly, we shouldn't forget about cooperation in furniture production, fashion industry, and food. The Italian entrepreneurs I meet in Minsk ask me to open representative offices of Italian banks in the Belarusian capital,” he said.
The ambassador said he hopes that borders between Belarus and Italy will soon be reopened. “Belarusian citizens are still unable to come to Italy due to the coronavirus, but we are doing our utmost to lift these restrictions in order to resume the flow of Belarusian tourists to Italy as well as humanitarian trips of Belarusian kids to our country,” he remarked.
Senior Counselor of the Embassy of Belarus in Italy Irina Arzhankova said that the last few years had been rather dynamic for mutual trade. According to Belarusian statistics, in January-April 2020 trade slowed down considerably due to understandable reasons, however, Italy has been a traditionally important and major trade partner for Belarus for many years already. Belarus-Italy trade is balanced. “Although import to Belarus is ahead of export, I am pleased to note its technological component. Equipment and technologies from Italy are in demand in Belarus for the sake of modernizing enterprises year after year,” she said.
Many Italian businessmen successfully do business in Belarus. The number of new companies with Italian capital increased considerably in the last few years. As many as 21 new companies were set up in 2019, bringing the total to 244. Belarusian products also enjoy demand on the Italian market. Those are metal products, potash fertilizers, artificial fibers, furniture, timber, and other things. The share of services in the total trade was close to 12% in 2019, the senior counselor of the Embassy of Belarus in Italy said.