Kazakhstan – Belarus: Cooperation on a national scale. Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and Alexander Lukashenko were in talks at Akorda
May 25. Kazpravda
By Vladimir Kuriatov
The main topic of the meeting was trade and economic relations within the Customs Union and boosting integration – by creating a Single Economic Space. Close cooperation between the two friendly republics, as noted by the heads of state, has a great potential. Evidence to it is joint projects on PAIID on Kazakhstan territory and interest of Kazakh business in investing in Belarusian economy.
Alexander Lukashenko has arrived in our country on a three-day visit, which points to a heavy agenda, and the heads of state do have much to discuss, given the mutual interest and strategic partnership, major economic projects, currently under implementation, recently created customs union and SES in its infancy.
However it is not only integration initiatives this year is remarkable by. Our countries, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, observed, are in the 20th year of Independence, and the main achievement of Kazakhstan and Belarus is the lasting peace and concord between them.
Both Kazakhstan and Belarus had presidential elections in this year.
– It is your first visit to Kazakhstan after the presidential election. We understand that it is a sign of confidence between our countries that formed in our big political and economic cooperation, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev, congratulating his colleagues on the victory, who congratulated him back.
This year will see a lot of meetings within the CIS and other international organizations, it was mentioned. An important topic covered was the Customs Union of Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus, building up a Single Economic Space.
Kazakhstan’s President expressed support of Belarus policies, its prioritizing economic and social development.
– As CSTO chairman you offer new approaches – Kazakhstan supports them, – N.Nazarbayev said, noting affinity of the two states’ positions in CIS, EurAsEC and CSTO.
Economic context of cooperation topped the agenda. It stands out that over the past years 2009 and 2010 Kazakhstan and Belarus filled bilateral relations with new content. During Nursultan Nazarbayev’s official visit to Minsk in November 2009 Economic Cooperation Program for 2009-2016 was signed, with road map for its implementation. Since then, bilateral trade between the two nations has been continually growing. At the end of last year it went 56% up and exceeded 700 million dollars. The level of direct Belarusian investments in Kazakhstan went 55% up. This positive tendency holds on in the current year.
– In the first quarter of 2011 our turnover was 150 million dollars – it’s 1,5 times more than in the first quarter of last year, – Nursultan Nazarbayev cited.
-Belarus, – he went on, – is in the troika of Kazakhstan’s major trade partners. Traditionally our relations rest on pragmatism, we are seeking to boost political, economic and humanitarian cooperation. Our country hosts 23 service centers of Belarusian enterprises, 80 joint ventures, 6 trading companies and a host of RepOffices.
Belarusian business shares in Kazakhstan’s innovative development, which was a focus in the talks.
– We are implementing far-reaching strategic cooperation initiatives – it is 27 joint projects, five of which have been launched. These are on AIID state program, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev. All our agreements fit into this program to raise our cooperation onto a new plane. It is in the first place the joint action plan-2010-2011,
aimed to stimulate industrial cooperation, subsequent to which five projects were launched included in Kazakhstan’s industrialization Map -on assembly of Belarusian equipment totaling approximately $ 100 million. Among them is the company assembling BelAZ, joint production of combine harvesters ESSIL-740, assembly line of “Belarus-3022” tractors and others.
Dialogue on energy is deemed promising, for which bilateral intergovernmental agreement on trade and economic cooperation in oil and petrochemicals deliveries to Belarus is about to be signed, factoring in both states’ international obligations.
Alexander Lukashenko expressed hope that with SES creation there will be no artificial obstacles for oil and petroleum products’ supply to his country.
It was agreed to expand cooperation in agriculture. Kazakhstan is ready to supply hard wheat to Belarus – another promising cooperation area.
-Our country is interested in taking part in privatization of a number of Belarusian companies. This would ensure mutual investment flow.
Complementarity of the two economies promises effective collaboration too. As the Belarusian leader pointed, our countries have practically no competing industries. -Kazakhstan needs what we produce, and Belarus – what Kazakhstan makes.
Alexander Lukashenko puts on top of the list such interaction areas as oil refining, petrochemicals, development of HT enterprises. He reconfirmed Belarusian business’ interest in working on Kazakhstan land.
For decades, he said, the Belarusian and Kazakh people are bound together by close cooperation and mutual aid, and a peculiar alliance. And to continue this relationship would be exemplary. The documents signed in the talks are ministrant to it. It is primarily a joint statement, reflecting a full range of bilateral and multilateral ties.
The two governments are tasked to draft Program- 2012-2013 for development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation.
Understanding was reached on the need to develop partnerships and in many other areas, including the transport sector. To intensify business, tourist, scientific, academic and cultural contacts between the two states and their citizens Astana- Minsk direct flights are to be launched already in this year.
In line of multilateral partnership it was agreed to continue collaboration within UN and other universal international organizations.
The joint statement also stressed a particular importance of strong cooperative effort between two countries within the CIS, EurAsEC, Customs Union and Common Economic Space to create a stable platform for long-term economic cooperation.
Intergovernmental cooperation agreements were also signed during the meeting, between defense departments -on security of state aircraft’s flights, and between the two countries’ interior ministries.