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28 May 2020, 17:29

Opinion: Belarus' decision against strict quarantine was deliberate, informed

Vasily Markovich. Photo from Delfi
Vasily Markovich. Photo from Delfi

MINSK, 28 May (BelTA) – Belarus' decision against strict quarantine measures in view of COVID-19 was deliberate and informed, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Latvia Vasily Markovich told BelTA.

“There is no denying that the pandemic has had a negative impact on the economy of almost all countries. It has indeed. However, we should admit that the situation in Belarus is strikingly different. The decision not to take strict quarantine measures and not to close Belarusian enterprises in this situation was, in my opinion, deliberate and informed from an economic and social perspective,” the ambassador believes.

There are many enterprises in Belarus with large workforce, some of them operate a continuous manufacturing process, some are local mainstays, Ambassador Vasily Markovich stressed. “I cannot imagine all of them to stop working. People have preserved their jobs, which means, they have been able to provide for their families and help elderly parents,” he noted.

Speaking about the process of emerging from the crisis, the ambassador noted that everything will depend on how well Belarusian enterprises have preserved trade and economic chains with their partners and customers and how fast they will be able to re-establish ties and get access to new markets. “Belarusian embassies will be of great help in this process,” Ambassador Vasily Markovich said.

The Belarusian Embassy in Latvia is closely working with Belarusian partners as Latvia is gradually lifting the quarantine. “The diplomats have started to miss face-to-face interaction with their colleagues, representatives of businesses and Belarusian communities,” the ambassador noted.

Despite the difficult situation in the global economy due to the coronavirus, Belarusian exporters have been trying to increase their supplies to the Latvian market. For example, in January-March 2020, Belarus' export to Latvia totaled $63.8 million. Without taking into account oil, petroleum products, petroleum gases and other hydrocarbon gases, paints and varnishes, antiknock agents, antioxidant, reaction inhibitor, thickening agents, potassium and nitrogen fertilizers, the export shrank by $3.6 million and came at $62.5 million.

“At the same time, export of some Belarusian goods went up. For example, export of rapeseed oil soared by 8.7 times, polyamides – by 7.6 times, soybean oil – by 6.8 times, raw aluminum – by 6.4 times, and potassium fertilizers – by 6.1 times. Shipments of Belarusian concrete and wood for cooperage increased manifold. The country also saw a rise in export of insulated wire, firewood, and other products. Our embassy is looking for new niches that could be filled by Belarusian goods,” Ambassador Vasily Markovich said.

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