MINSK, 17 September (BelTA) - Belarus will do everything to develop bilateral relations with the United States, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale in Minsk on 17 September, BelTA has learned.
“We will do everything to develop our relations," the Belarusian leader stressed.
“As for our relations, you know, and you have been notified, that this is not the only signal we are sending to the U.S. leadership that we are normalizing the relations. It is not normal when the two states that once fought on the same side against the enemy have such, let's say, weak relations today,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
At the end of the meeting Aleksandr Lukashenko presented an exclusive assortment of chocolate and the photo album Heritage of Belarus to David Hale.
Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the U.S. Department of State George Kent visited Minsk in March and July 2019. U.S. President's National Security Advisor John Bolton traveled to Minsk in August 2019. Security secretaries of Belarus, Poland, the United States and Ukraine met in Warsaw in August on the initiative of the U.S. side.
Minsk and Washington cooperate in various fields of common interest, including security. The sides have resumed dialogue on military matters, in healthcare, agriculture, professional exchange. In March 2019, the U.S. side was notified that Belarus lifted the cap on the number of U. S. diplomats allowed in the country. There are intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in economy, banking and other areas. In May 2019, memorandums of cooperation were signed between the State Border Committee, the the State Customs Committee, the Interior Ministry, the Investigation Committee of Belarus and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Until 2008, the United States was one of Belarus' major economic partners. After a period of decline, the trade with the United States leveled out as of 2011. Washington applies restrictive tariff measures against certain categories of Belarusian exports.
In 2018, the trade reached $711.6 million (up by 17.6% over 2017). Export totaled $274.4 million (up by 21.7%), import came at $437.2 million (up by 15.3%). In 2018 Belarus' export of services to the United States totaled $712.1 million and was dominated by the Hi-Tech Park services. In January-June 2019, the trade made up $478 million (up by 44.7% as against January-June 2018), export of services reached $438.9 million (up by 39.1%).