Belarusian enterprises intend to work actively in Kazakhstan – RK Ambassador to Belarus A. Smirnov


Rassul Bakhamov

Belarusian enterprises intend to work actively in Kazakhstan - RK Ambassador to Belarus A. SmirnovBelarus and Russia are traditionally considered as close allies and partners of Kazakhstan. At the beginning of 2010 the leaders of three countries agreed on establishment of the Customs Union.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to the Republic of Belarus Anatoly Smirnov told about development of trade-economic relations with Belarus in an interview to Kazinform.

Mr. Ambassador, how could you estimate the state of trade-economic relations between Kazakhstan and Belarus?

First of all, I would like to note friendly relations between our countries which have been activated significantly since the year beginning. This relates to all directions of trade-economic, cultural-humanitarian and military-technical cooperation.

Similarity of the countries’ positions on many urgent international issues, consolidated partnership relations in international organizations, active interaction within the CIS, EurAsEC, CSTO and the CU play a key role in this process.

Belarus backed Kazakhstan’s candidacy for the post of the OSCE presiding country in 2010 and its initiative to organize the OSCE summit in Astana. This shows the intention of Belarusian side to enhance our bilateral political, trade-economic interaction.

The current level of trade-economic cooperation demonstrates partnership relations between two countries. Among all post-soviet countries Kazakhstan ranks the third in foreign trade of Belarus.

Noteworthy to say that global economic crisis significantly affected the Kazakh-Belarusian bilateral trade-economic ties. At the beginning of 2009 the countries observed decline in goods turnover. As a result, bilateral commodity turnover made only USD 388.3 mln last year that is 27.7% lower against 2008. However we could prevent deeper fall.

As is known, the year 2009 was marked by two important events which gave positive impulse to both countries bilateral relations. These are the official visits of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Karim Massimov to Belarus. Following the visits the parties entered into several agreements and concluded a number of contracts. For the first time in the history of bilateral relations Kazakhstan and Belarus signed a Joint Action Plan for 2010-2011 (Road Map) on implementation of the program of economic cooperation between two states for 2009-2016 which covers all important directions of bilateral cooperation.

Belarus can also take part in implementation of Kazakhstan’s Forced Industrial-Innovative Development and make a contribution to the country’s industrial-innovative development. This will allow it to expand its presence on the Kazakh market.

In January-February 2010 we observed positive dynamics in bilateral interaction. Thus, goods turnover over this period made USD 60.1 mln that is 47.8% higher against the same period in 2009.

Positive results have been achieved in organization of trade of Belarusian goods in Kazakhstan. Thus, trade houses of MTZ-Asia-Service LLP, BelKA (Minsk automobile plant) are successfully functioning in Kazakhstan to date.

Are Belarusian companies and banks interested in expanding cooperation with Kazakhstan within the Customs Union’s establishment? What certain projects are planned to be implemented?

First of all, Belarus is the country with export-oriented economy. Therefore, the 16 mln Kazakhstani market aroused great interest among the Belarusian enterprises and firms prior to establishment of the Customs Union. As the Customs Union was launched this interest increased which is proved by the growing number of claims of Belarusian companies and ventures to the Kazakhstan Embassy.

In his annual Address to the Nation New Decade-New Economic Growth – New Opportunities of Kazakhstan Head of the State Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that establishment of the Customs Union with Russia and Belarus would be a breakthrough for all Kazakhstani initiatives. Formation of the Single Economic Space since January 1, 2012 will become one more stage to integration of three countries.

As for the certain projects, I would repeat that following the official visit of the Kazakh President to Belarus there was signed a Road Map for 2010-2011 according to which both countries authorities were charged to consider an opportunity of establishment of joint productions on manufacture of agricultural equipment, car trailers, diesel engines, cargo lifts etc.

The joint productions will be established primarily in Kazakhstan which meets the priority directions of the Forced Industrialization Program.

Belarus leads in agricultural engineering, car industry, precise instrument-making and radio-electronics spheres. Are there any joint projects with Kazakhstan to be implemented in these sectors?

We should admit that Belarus could preserve its production potential after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Almost all well-known engineering, car-making and instrument-making enterprises are working countrywide to date. Alongside, development of these above-mentioned sectors is of priority importance for Kazakhstan economy too.

We should also note that it is quite difficult to set to implementation of the projects in these sectors because their realization requires thorough consideration and study and significant funds. However, a number of joint projects are under realization now.

Do Belarusian enterprises intend to join the Kazakhstan market? Are they interested in our potential in agricultural products manufacturing and processing?

Agrarian sector plays an important role in economy of Belarus. The majority of the products of agro-industrial sector is exported to foreign markets and brings good income to national budget. The state maintains the sector through allocating significant funds for its development. For example, USD 35 bln is envisaged for implementation of the state program on revival and development of rural areas in 2005-2010.

Agricultural processing, stockbreeding, crop production are well developed in Belarus. Besides, the level of scientific developments in agro-industrial complex is high enough. The most important thing is that the Belarusian products are familiar to Kazakhstani consumers since we import milk, cheese, butter, eggs, sugar, products of flour, cereal, potato from Belarus.

Therefore I would like to say that Belarus and Kazakhstan are mutually interested in enhancement of trade-economic cooperation. Our consumers know the quality and low cost of Belarusian products that is why we are keen on establishment and deepening of bilateral cooperation.

In turn, taking into account vast territory of Kazakhstan and attractive market for sale, the Belarusian side expresses interest in expanding cooperation namely in agro-industrial sphere.

Within the visits of N. Nazarbayev and K. Massimov to Minsk our countries entered into agreements on establishment of agricultural processing enterprises in Kazakhstan.  The point at issue is dairy and meat products. Besides, Belarus is ready to build modern plants, dairy farms, warehouses etc. Kazakhstan is also interested in Belarusian experience in revival of villages, including construction of agrarian towns. Moreover, our country plans to establish food belts around large cities – Astana and Almaty.

Therefore, this direction of cooperation is a promising one both for Kazakhstan and Belarus. Further results will depend on qualitative realization of the targeted projects.