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24 March 2020, 11:27

Belarus seeks to boost cooperation with China

MINSK, 24 March (BelTA) – Belarus seeks to boost trade and economic cooperation with China overcoming a certain gap which emerged in connection with the difficult epidemiological situation, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Belarus Cui Qiming on 24 March, BelTA has learned.

According to the president, the sides need to discuss a number of topics regarding the current moment and future prospects. “No one and nothing, no coronaviruses, can impede the development of our bilateral relations,” he said.

Commenting on the development of the trade and economic cooperation, Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “I have not noticed a decline. Yes, there has been a pause (you know it is not connected with Belarus). But we take it normally.”

According to the president, now it is essential to focus on the restoration of interaction. “We need not only to restore, resume our cooperation with China, but also to ramp it up this year overcoming a certain gap. We can do it. And we will,” he stressed.

The head of state recalled that a number of projects, including the ones to build a swimming pool and a stadium, are implemented in Belarus with China's assistance. “These will be exemplary construction projects. I want to have these two Chinese objects in the center of Europe where we will host (and we already have confirmations from international organizations) large-scale international competitions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

In 2019, the Belarusian-Chinese trade went up 22% to $4.6 billion as compared to 2018. The export of Belarusian products increased by 32% to $712.6 million. The volume of Chinese investments to Belarus made up almost $170 million, including over $140 million worth of direct investments.

The industrial park Great Stone is the largest cooperation project of the two countries. As March 2020, 58 resident companies were registered in the park, the volume of committed investments reached $1.2 billion.

Thirty-five loan agreements to the tune of $8.4 billion were concluded with Chinese financial institutions; the financing of 22 projects made up $4.1 billion.

The government of China regularly provides gratuitous technical aid to the Belarusian government. The project portfolio includes the construction of a national football stadium, a world-class swimming pool, social housing, the support and development of the industrial park Great Stone, etc.

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