OPPORTUNITIES, that shall be undertaken

Belarus and Austria have a great potential for the development of mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation
In the seventh session of the Belarusian-Austrian Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Belarusian part of the commission chair Viktor Gaisenok made a notice about the stability of the trade between Belarus and Austria in the last 10 years. In year 2006, the goods turnover comprised almost $125 million, which is 28 per cent more than in previous year. Although Belarusian export has experienced a 30 per cent increase, it is still 5 times less than import from Austria. This proves that there is a misbalance in Belarusian foreign trade with this country. At the same time, there is a huge potential for our trade relations development. Deputy Minister also stated that Belarusian export to Austria consists primarily of goods made from ferrous metals, wood, including furniture, polymer materials, and chemical fibers, also fabrics and apparel. Export volume in year 2006 was only $21 million, which is definitely less than it could have been. In order to increase Belarusian merchandise supply, we need to make a thorough market research in Austria and establish valuable contacts among Austrian business communities, noted Viktor Gaisenok.

Besides, Viktor Gaisenok believes encouraging Austrian investments in the modernization of the Belarusian economy is important for the development of the bilateral relations.

In turn, director general for foreign trade policy of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour, chairman of the Austrian part of the commission Johann Sachs noted, the flow of Austrian investment in the Belarusian economy can be accelerated by inviting Austrian banks to partake the development of the bilateral relations. He cited Raiffeisenbank, which owns a share in Belarusian Priorbank, as an example of successful work in Belarus.

Austrian companies export to Belarus mainly medications, metering instruments, food industry equipment and certain other commodities. However, according to Johann Sachs, it is just a small part of what Austria could have supplied to Belarus. Yet the list of goods imported from Belarus can be extended.

“The foreign trade has a significant potential, which needs to be explored by implementing new projects and cooperation programs”, said Johann Sachs. He added, Belarus occupies only the 67th position on Austria’s largest trade partners list by accounting for 0.07% of Austria’s foreign trade while Austria maintains trade relations with over 200 countries across the globe.

Alexander Sokolovskiy
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