MINSK, 23 May (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko plans to meet with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and first president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev during a visit to Nur-Sultan where he will attend the EAEU summit. The head of state made the statement as he met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Belarus Yermukhamet Yertysbayev on 23 May, BelTA informs.
“I think that apart from the EAEU summit we will be able to hold meetings with the Kazakhstan president and the first president of your country to discuss the prospects of our cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state said that he had visited Kazakhstan many times. He is happy to meet with the Kazakhstani ambassador in the run-up to the visit to Nur-Sultan. “I know Kazakhstan very well. I have visited southern, central and northern regions. Kazakhstan is a wonderful and dynamically developing country. Complicated processes are happening in the political field. Of course, a parliamentary election and a new president have a corresponding impact on life, the society, even the economy,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
“Our meeting is on time. I think that we will manage to outline major issues in spite of a short period of time,” the president added.
Yermukhamet Yertysbayev, in turn, stressed that Kazakhstan is waiting for the official visit of the Belarusian leader in H2 2019. “We want to bolster all our agreements which were made on 29-30 November 2017 [during the official visit of Nursultan Nazarbayev to Belarus], advance our bilateral relations to a brand-new level,” he said.
“Belarus is very important for us. For example, co-chairman of Kazakhstan-Belarus intergovernmental commission [Askar Mamin] became prime minister, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with you in Belarus and became president,” the diplomat said with a humorous note.
The ambassador agreed that it is essential to balance out Belarus-Kazakhstan trade. “Of course, we would like to change the trade structure. Kazakhstan's trade deficit now makes up almost $700 million,” he said. “I met with Prime Minister [Sergei] Rumas, First Vice Premier [Aleksandr] Turchin. Belarus is ready to buy plain steel, scrap iron, nonferrous metals,” the diplomat said.
Last year the trade turnover between Belarus and Kazakhstan went up almost 30% to reach $900 million as against 2017. Belarus' export exceeded $783 million. In Q1 2019, the bilateral trade fell by nearly 10% from the same period of 2018. The trade turnover made up $171.5 million. Belarus' trade surplus was $121.7 million.
Belarus exports milk and dairy products, tractors and tractor units, furniture, freight vehicles, medications, frozen beef, sugar, meat products to Kazakhstan. Major Belarus' imports are oil products, coal, rail track, rolled steel products, petroleum gases, flax seeds, cotton fibers, onion, garlic.
Belarus' commodity distribution network in Kazakhstan includes over 40 companies with Belarusian capital and more than 170 dealer network facilities. There are eight joint assembly plants for Belarusian machinery and equipment. There are 256 organizations with Belarus' participation in Kazakhstan, and 45 enterprises with Kazakhstani capital in Belarus.