President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is convinced that Belarus is an important trading partner of Ukraine, so the countries should work on increasing mutual trade. One of the instruments to achieve this goal is to hold the events such as the Second Forum of the Regions of Ukraine and Belarus in Zhytomyr.
“Obviously, such a Forum should be held regularly. It strengthens the partnership between our countries in all spheres, and, very importantly, not only at the level of the two capitals – Kyiv and Minsk, but also at the level of our regions and individual enterprises,” the Head of State noted during the final part of the Forum.
“Such deep cooperation becomes an important component of our relations. The evidence is the signing of commercial contracts worth about $ 500 million within the Forum, as well as the expansion of the geography of our cooperation,” he stated.
In particular, Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted the beginning of the activity of the Ukrainian-Belarusian working group on interregional and cross-border cooperation.
“Belarus is our key trading partner. Last year’s trade turnover between our countries exceeded $ 5 billion. I agree with Alexander Grigoryevich – we can and should surpass the mark of 6-8 billion dollars,” the President emphasized. He also noted that this task was addressed to the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation. According to him, the Ukrainian part of this Commission will be updated in the near future.
The Head of the State named cooperation in the fuel and energy complex, infrastructure and transport projects, industry, industrial cooperation, as well as cooperation in the agro-industrial complex the priorities in the trade and economic relations of Ukraine and Belarus.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the countries have great potential for mutual modernization of enterprises, joint access to the markets of other countries and participation in multilateral projects.
“I believe that this will be facilitated by large-scale changes in Ukraine, which will be positively evaluated by the business environment, creditors and investors. I invite Belarusian investors to actively cooperate and I want the history of relations between Ukraine and Belarus to be a history of success and progress,” the President of Ukraine summarized.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko also agreed that Ukraine was one of the main trading partners for his country and called for increasing mutual trade.
“We are ready to negotiate the increase in the supply of petroleum products to your enterprises. I believe that joint projects in this field should be supported in the future,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
He also informed that during today’s talks in the narrow circle, alternative ways of supplying hydrocarbons from the world markets had been discussed. “A substantial part of our negotiations was focused on this topic, we have agreed that we will not just work out options, but act directly. It is quite natural and is not directed against any other countries – this is our need. This is the security of the two countries,” the President of Belarus stressed.
According to him, there is a solid foundation for mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy sector, especially after the opening of the Ukrainian electricity market. There are great prospects in the machine-building industry as well. Alexander Lukashenko also called transport arteries an important chain in the development of economic ties.
“The geographic location of our countries provides good opportunities for the logistics sector. The transit attractiveness of Belarus and Ukraine can be enhanced by river navigation on the Dnieper and the Pryp’yat’, its integration into the E-40 international waterway,” he said.
Alexander Lukashenko reminded that Belarus not only exported its goods to Ukraine, but also imported Ukrainian metal, agricultural and food products, feed additives, medicines and more. He also emphasized that the multibillion-dollar trade turnover between the two countries was formed on the ground and named a number of Ukrainian-Belarusian enterprises operating in Ukraine.
“This explains our close attention to the development of inter-regional contacts. We will continue to create joint ventures. Areas of interest are huge,” the President of Belarus summarized.