MINSK, 13 February (BelTA) - Switzerland intends to double trade with Belarus, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis told the media in Minsk on 13 February, BelTA has learned.
“We see great potential for further growth. Our goal is to double the trade," said Ignazio Cassis said.
He noted that Switzerland is one of the most important investors in the Belarusian economy. “Investments require the right framework. During our contacts with the Belarusian side and political dialogue, we will try to outline this framework as clearly and accurately as possible," the head of the department added.
Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei stressed that the visit of Ignazio Cassis to Minsk and the opening of the Swiss Embassy in Belarus strongly demonstrate the positive dynamics in the relations between the two countries and mutual interest in further cooperation. During the talks in Minsk, the diplomats discussed the development of political dialogue, mutual trade and investment, cooperation in the humanitarian matters and sport. The parties agreed to hold another meeting of the Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation this year.
In 2019, the trade between Belarus and Switzerland amounted to $258.2 million, which was up by 38% over 2018. Belarus' major exports to Switzerland were specific goods, car bodies, products made of stone or other minerals, vegetables. Belarus imported electric transformers, parts of rolling stock, medicines and medical equipment, products made of non-precious metals. A significant share of imports was made up of equipment for modernization of the Belarusian industry.
Switzerland is one of the ten key consumers of Belarusian services, mainly transport, computer, telecommunications and information services. It is noteworthy that the trade in services with this country exceeds the merchandise trade. From January to November 2019, services exports to Switzerland surged by 30.5% to $180 million.
Switzerland is also one of the five largest investors in Belarus in terms of foreign direct investment on a net basis ($41 million in January-September 2019). Belarus is home to 103 organizations with Swiss investments, including 37 joint and 66 foreign ones, and 39 representative offices.