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Belarus and Ukraine intend to develop mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields

Belarus is ready to significantly expand the production of tractors and elevators in Ukraine.

This was stated by Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky on 30 September at a meeting with First Vice Premier of Ukraine Andriy Klyuyev, who arrived in Minsk at the head of the governmental delegation of Ukraine for participation in the 19th session of the Intergovernmental Belarusian-Ukrainian joint commission on trade-economic cooperation.

“We are ready to considerably increase the manufacture of tractors and elevators in Ukraine and start making other machines that are in demand on the Ukrainian market,” Sergei Sidorsky said.

He noted that the trade and economic relations between the two states are on the rise despite the financial crisis, and the growth of the bilateral trade is a testimony to that. In January-July 2010, the trade made up USD 2.2 billion, up 46.6% over the same period a year before. According to Sergei Sidorsky, “the growth rate is good”.

“We seek to restore the pre-crisis trade level between Belarus and Ukraine. We have all the preconditions for that,” he said. A reminder, in 2008, the bilateral trade stood at USD 4.9 billion.

Sergei Sidorsky informed that this year Belarus’ GDP is growing by 6-7% and everything is being done to increase the figure to 10%.

The Premier underlined that Belarus is interested not only in boosting its exports, but also in setting up enterprises abroad. “The enterprises we have built in Ukraine will be supported in terms of technology and localization,” he said.

Belarus and Ukraine used to have disputes related to mutual barriers against some products. Later a decision was made to resolve all the issues. Sergei Sidorsky believes it was the right decision. In his words, now the countries can freely discuss all trade and economic matters. The Belarusian Premier attaches a great significance to Belarus-Ukraine intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation to promote the economic relations.

Head of the Belarusian Government also confirmed the long-term plans for the Belarusian oil supplies through Ukraine.

Sergei Sidorsky remarked that Belarus and Ukraine had agreed on oil deliveries via Ukraine in a timely manner. “We confirm that these deliveries are long-term and serious,” stressed the Prime Minister. He also explained that Belarus is gradually diversifying oil deliveries. Belarus is drilling long-term lease wells in Venezuela, work is underway in other countries, including countries in Africa and Asia.

First Vice Premier of Ukraine Andriy Klyuyev underlined that Belarus and Ukraine had achieved quite considerable progress in cooperation in fuel and energy matters. He said that cooperation in fuel and energy matters played a major part in raising Belarus-Ukraine trade in H1 2010. “We are ready to continue working, in particular, in matters relating to the transshipment of Venezuelan oil via Ukraine. But we need clarity regarding the next year’s volume of oil transshipment. Then we will be able to work as effectively as possible. I think we will learn the volume of oil transshipment by the end of November,” said Andriy Klyuyev.

He also confirmed that Ukraine will continue supplying electricity to Belarus. “A long-term contract has been signed,” said the First Vice Premier of Ukraine.

Andriy Klyuyev said he hopes that in the near future the sides will bring the creation of a joint venture to sell oil products in Ukraine to its logical conclusion.

First Vice Premier of Ukraine Andriy Klyuyev agrees that the two countries have exciting cooperation prospects not only in the fuel and energy complex, but also in machine-building, transport and other fields.

Ukraine is a strategic trade partner of Belarus. In 2008 Ukraine ranked second among the CIS states and third in the total foreign trade volume of Belarus. In turn, Belarus ranks seven among Ukraine’s top ten trade partners.

Due to the global financial and economic crisis in 2009 Belarus-Ukraine trade fell by 39% in comparison with 2008 to total USD 3 billion. Belarus’ export amounted to USD 1.7 billion (60.9% as against 2008), import USD 1.3 billion (61% as against 2008).

Belarus-Ukraine trade saw positive trends in January-July 2010. Belarus-Ukraine trade shot up by 46.6% to USD 2.2 billion, with export at USD 1.3 billion (154%), import USD 0.9 billion (137.3%).

Belarus accounts for 3.73% of Ukraine’s import while Ukraine accounts for over 4.5% of Belarus’ import.

At present there are over 100 commercial entities (dealers) in Ukraine that promote Belarusian products and their number is on the rise.

The crisis has not affected the expansion of the Belarusian commodity distribution network in Ukraine. In 2009 five joint ventures were set up, the Trading House Belarus (Kyiv) is being registered, five proprietary shops have been opened. National expos of the two countries are arranged every year.

At present there are seven Belarusian-Ukrainian assembly enterprises. Four enterprises have been set up in Ukraine to assemble MTZ tractors, Lidagroprommash machines and elevators while three enterprises have been set up in Belarus to assemble Bogdan buses, passenger and freight railway cars, and manufacture milking equipment designed by the Bratslav company. The possibility of resuming the assembly of Gomselmash harvesters at the Polesie enterprise in Kyiv Oblast is under consideration as well as the project to start joint assembly of Belarusian machines at premises of the Kherson harvester plant.

Key issues for further intensifying the Belarusian-Ukrainian cooperation were discussed on 19th meeting of the Intergovernmental Belarusian-Ukrainian joint commission on trade and economic cooperation. Belarusian delegation headed by First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Semashko, the Ukrainian - First Vice Premier of Ukraine Andriy Klyuyev.

Opening the meeting, First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Semashko noted that Belarus and Ukraine intend to make USD 4.3 billion in mutual trade this year.

“By the end of the year we can reach USD 4.2-4.3 billion in trade, it will be a concrete result of our joint work,” Vladimir Semashko said.

According to Vladimir Semashko, “our relations with Ukraine are a priority”. In his words, this year the countries have made a lot to promote bilateral relations. Vladimir Semashko also noted the visit of President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych to Belarus in April. Then the two sides signed a joint statement envisaging a joint action plan. As a result, in January-July the trade between Belarus and Ukraine made up USD 2.2 billion (46.6% to the same period in 2009). Belarus posted trade surplus of almost USD 400 million.

The First Vice Premier of Ukraine Andriy Klyuyev said that economic relations between Belarus and Ukraine are developing rather fast. “Trade between enterprises is on the rise, manufacturing cooperation is used, vigorous efforts are exercised in fuel and energy industry, agriculture, mechanical engineering,” Andriy Klyuyev said.

He also said that he meets with First Vice Premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko quite often to address minor issues. According to Andriy Klyuyev, in 2010 the two countries are quite capable of achieving or coming close to the 2008 year trade turnover - USD 4.9 billion.

The Intergovernmental Belarusian-Ukrainian commission is supposed to promote cooperation and create favorable and comfortable relations between countries. This is why, Andriy Klyuyev said, Ukraine is ready to stop using antidumping measures with regard to Belarusian goods.

“It is better to resolve disputes between companies through negotiations instead of antidumping investigations,” said Andriy Klyuyev.

The First Vice Premier of Ukraine also believes that new issues can be handled by working groups, too. In his opinion, there is nothing Belarus and Ukraine cannot resolve.

“We should set a new goal of cooperation – to raise the trade volume up to USD 4.9 billion and to exceed the figure next year,” said Andriy Klyuyev.

As a result of the 19th session of the Intergovernmental Belarusian-Ukrainian joint commission on trade and economic cooperation between two sides signed several bilateral documents. Among them - the minutes of the meeting of the Commission, an intergovernmental agreement on deliveries from Belarus to Ukraine passenger car tires, the protocol on amendments to the intergovernmental agreement on the rights of citizens of Ukraine and Belarus, working outside the territories of their states. Also Belkommunmash and Chernigov Automobile signed an agreement on long-term industrial cooperation.

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