ASTANA, 14 August (BelTA) – Belarus is aimed to maximize the efforts to intensify the trade and economic cooperation with Kazakhstan, Belarus Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said at the meeting with his Kazakhstan counterpart Bakytzhan Sagintayev on 13 August, BelTA has learned.
“The government of Belarus is ready to do its best to intensify the trade and economic cooperation with Kazakhstan. In this respect we are interested in a prompt signing of an agreement and program of social and economic cooperation between Belarus and Kazakhstan through 2026, which will strengthen the strategic areas of our cooperation,” Andrei Kobyakov stressed. In his words, these documents will be signed during the forthcoming official visit of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev to Minsk.
The PM said that Kazakhstan is an important and time-honored partner for Belarus. The two countries maintain a high level of cooperation both at the bilateral level and as part of integration associations and international organizations. “There is a regular open dialogue between the leaders of our countries. Belarus and Kazakhstan have similar positions on the key issues of the international agenda,” he explained.
According to Andrei Kobyakov, Kazakhstan is among Belarus' major trading partners and is third among the CIS member states. “I have to note, however, that recently our trade and economic cooperation has been lagging behind our active political dialogue and does not meet our cooperation potential. I hope that this year we will be able to reverse this trend. The start of the year showed that it is possible,” he said. In January-June the trade soared almost 80% to make up $294.6 million. The exports totaled $252.6 million, the imports reached $42 million (a 2.5-time increase).
Belarus is ready to support at its government level proposals regarding any promising projects in the most various sectors, including petrochemistry, agriculture, energy, transport and logistics, innovations and new technologies where both the countries could implement two or three big projects in every area, the premier noted. “A driving force behind our cooperation is projects in production cooperation which enables us to develop modern high-value-added products and secure employment. Today Kazakhstan is home to eight joint plants which assemble Belarusian machinery and equipment. We are aimed not only at expanding the lineup of the tractor, automobile and agricultural products we assemble, but also at increasing the production,” he said.
Andrei Kobyakov cited as a good example of mutually beneficial cooperation the introduction of the first stage of the Kazakhstan-Belarus Industrial and Technological Park of Agricultural and Utilities Equipment project in 2016. “Our cooperation was continued by the launch of the project to assemble products of Belarus' MAZ at Kazakhstan's Motor Company Astana Motors (Almaty) in 2017. Apart from that, we hope to start the production of air drones in Kazakhstan, develop cooperation in space, apply the Belarusian software in banking and transport sectors, and develop container shipping. We see the potential for expanding Kazakhstan's investment presence in Belarus in different spheres and are ready to provide full support to any stakeholders,” he said.
The prime minister of Belarus noted that 2017 is a year for the two countries to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations. “Over these years our cooperation has gained strategic importance,” Andrei Kobyakov said.
Photo by Oksana Manchuk