MINSK, 15 October (BelTA) - Belarus hopes that the export will increase on the heels of the Free Trade Agreements that the Eurasian Economic Union has signed with third countries, Belarus' First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Yeudachenka told reporters before the meeting of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers to discuss ways of increasing and diversifying exports, BelTA has learned.
“We have been working hard ‘to unlock' external markets together with our partners in the Eurasian Economic Union through the conclusion of preferential trade agreements with third countries,” Andrei Yeudachenka said. “The agreement with Vietnam has already come into force. The ones with Iran, Egypt, Serbia are coming online soon. We are concluding the FTA talks with Israel. The negotiations with India are on track to be complete early next year. There is also a list of 12 states, with which we would like to work, with the interval of about 2 to 3 years,” he added.
This list can be supplemented by other countries. We are to chart a list of the countries, with which all five states of the union are ready to work, by the end of this year, Andrei Yeudachenka explained. “In March, we are starting the negotiations with these countries in order to get them involved in this work and shape the contours of such agreements. By September, we should report to the EEC Council on the list of countries and the way we will work with them in the coming years," he added.
According to Andrei Yeudachenka, Belarus also needs to build up industrial production to increase exports. “If we take a look at the companies that have generated this year's biggest growth in exports, it is primarily export-oriented high-tech producers. Among them are Stadler, BelGee, Belagroterminal. It is obvious that we need to set up more such manufacturers either ourselves, in the areas where we have competence, or by attracting foreign direct investment,” Andrei Yeudachenka added.
A draft decree on export support is being prepared. The Finance Ministry has set aside the funds in the budget for its implementation. The decree is supported by government bodies, regional authorities and business community.
According to Andrei Yeudachenka, the export of services has a great potential. "We have repeatedly said that the export of services should outperform the export of goods. Transport services account for approximately 46-47% of services export in our country. IT is coming into the second position. Therefore, there is a special hope for IT, as well as for all other types of services such as educational, banking, insurance, and other services,” Andrei Yeudachenka said. “We need to build up the export of services. In many countries, the export of services exceeds the export of goods. So we see a great potential on this front,” he added.