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28 February 2023, 17:19

Potassium sales, investments, regional cooperation on agenda of Lukashenko's state visit to China

Beijing. An archive photo
Beijing. An archive photo

BEIJING, 28 February (BelTA) – Belarus and China intend to secure a number of strategic agreements during the state visit of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko to Beijing. The agreements are supposed to shape Belarus-China cooperation for years to come, BelTA learned from First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Snopkov.

Nikolai Snopkov remarked that the state visit will take place virtually on the eve of important political events in China. During these events personnel decisions will be made, the team in charge of further realization of China's strategic development plans and accomplishment of specified goals will be put together. “It rarely happens. And it only emphasizes the importance and significance of the friendship and the friendly attitudes of primarily the two leaders – Aleksandr Lukashenko and Xi Jinping,” the official said.

Nikolai Snopkov stressed that great expectations surround the visit. The overall economic effect will be determined not only right there and then but taking into account the consequent realization of all the strategic agreements.


China is traditionally one of Belarus' top three trade partners. In 2022 Belarus-China trade totaled $5.79 billion, over 113% as against 2021. Belarus' merchandise export amounted to $1.61 billion, with import at $4.18 billion.

Nikolai Snopkov went on saying: “We all know that $5.8 billion is a record high trade turnover of the year 2022. I'd like to say with pleasure that January 2023 and 14 days of February 2023 already show a 72% increase in export in comparison with last year. As a matter of principle, we've already reached roughly $1 billion worth of mutual trade in one month and a half.”

In his words, it underlines the dynamism and the importance that China attaches to support and advancement of cooperation with Belarus. Such dynamics is important from the point of view of diversification of export shipments.

At present Belarus and China use a new mechanism for cooperation in trade. This mechanism did well judging from last year's experience. “It relies on export and import applications. The export application for 2023 stands at $2.2 billion. $600 million up from 2022. It is worth nothing that they are facilitated by associations. In other words, Chinese associations dealing with specific commodity groups help us sell goods. The second part is the import application: 107 companies intend to sell over 700 product titles, which include technological equipment, machine tools, raw materials, and components. Within the framework of the mechanism the associations help us find partners, which will supply the equipment and raw materials our market needs right now. We tested this mechanism last year and it proved to be effective. The $1 billion achieved over the course of 1.5 months also indicates that the mechanism is workable and effective,” Nikolai Snopkov said.

Potash fertilizers

Speaking about trade, Nikolai Snopkov drew attention to potassium as a product of strategic importance: “Negotiations are in progress between our companies and the main Chinese importers to discuss volumes and prices. I cannot talk about concrete figures now but I can assure you we will see a substantial increase in volumes. And we are very glad of it. In conditions of unprecedented and stupid sanctions all of us have felt how important food is and how important the potash fertilizers our country has are.”


“A number of most important documents will be signed to structure Belarus-China relations for the next 5-10 years,” the first deputy prime minister stated.

A joint declaration

The leaders of the countries are expected to pass a joint declaration on avenues and mechanisms of development in furtherance of the declaration on all-weather and comprehensive strategic partnership, which was signed during the previous meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. “It is the most important political document, which emphasizes that in this complicated situation China stands with us and we don't fail China,” Nikolai Snopkov stressed.

Free trade in services and investments

Nikolai Snopkov went on saying: “We bet heavily on a number of documents of economic nature. Those are primarily an agreement on trade in services and on making investments. The work took three years. We are now in the home stretch. It is virtually a zone of free trade in services and investments. It means there will be no barriers. Judging from international experience, it will add roughly 12.5% to trade in services and 30% to investments. In simple terms. But the document is profound and substantial. The lack of barriers is the most important thing. And all of us know that services represent virtually 80% of the cost of product manufacturing.”

A joint technological strategy

The industry ministries are expected to sign another most important document of strategic nature: a comprehensive strategy on joint industrial development.

“It means that China is ready to share with us technologies for making industrial goods. It is the most important component of future technological development considering that nowadays China is a cutting-edge technology country,” Nikolai Snopkov said.

Regional cooperation

A number of documents on advancing cooperation with regions of China are supposed to be signed.

Nikolai Snopkov said: “Guided by hints from Comrade Xi Jinping, we focus on three regions in our cooperation. Tianjin is a national central city focusing on manufacturing and logistics. Qingdao is another city under central administration. It focuses on manufacturing and medicinal industry and active use of a site of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's free trade zone. The city of Chongqing is a heart of logistics and transit. It focuses primarily on digital commerce with emphasis on transportation and logistics, including green corridors. As part of the practice a train does not have to be examined at the border but only at the final destination. The practice saves a lot of money and time.”

“An entire package of documents will be signed between our oblast capitals and oblast administrations and China's provinces. Six packages. It is part of the grassroots diplomacy particularly amid sanctions. Everything gets done over there, in the regions. On the ground, as our president says,” the official added.

Medicine and pharmaceutics

Another important package of documents involves the medical sphere. It provides for purchasing equipment and pharmaceutical substances in China. Among other things agreements will be signed with various major strategic partners in China. Work with other companies will be organized via this strategic partner. “The partner will act as a strategist and a representative of ours. Shipments will be facilitated as if using the one-stop shop practice,” the first deputy prime minister noted.

Automobile manufacturing

“There is an entire set of agreements concerning automobile manufacturing. The industry holds a lot of promise. We know that, generally speaking, Western European countries get most of their total profit from automobile manufacturing. And we diligently work to fulfill the president's instruction as we develop this industry together with our Chinese colleagues,” Nikolai Snopkov said.

Information and communication technologies, payment infrastructure

Nikolai Snopkov also drew attention to information and communication technologies. Plans are in place to find a strategic partner similarly to Belarus' approach to medical industry. Fundamental decisions are expected to be made with regard to payment infrastructure.

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