Readiness to co-operate convincingly proven
What connects Belarus and Cambodia? The first thing which comes to mind is 17 years of diplomatic relations and constructive political dialogue. We share a close position in the international arena on many issues, yet our business interaction lags behind.
By Denis Dronov
On meeting the Chairman of the National Assembly of Cambodia’s Parliament, Heng Samrin, the Belarusian President noted that it’s a little awkward to speak of trade turnover, which stands at just $2m. The potential for greater collaboration is clearly far greater, as proven by several recent events.
This March, Cambodia was visited by a delegation from the Belarusian Industry Ministry, which agreed expansion of co-operation in the spheres of industry, power engineering and extraction of mineral resources. MAZ and BelAZ signed memorandums on co-operation with Vietnamese-Cambodian Vinacomin-Reththy Company, also agreeing to supply heavy duty dump trucks and quarry machinery. Amkodor has established similar contacts with local Jos Sovann Sokntearos, while MTZ has agreed to sell 350-400 tractors to Mekong Machinery this year.
Other preliminary agreements have been agreed, so we can certainly view the current visit by the Cambodian parliamentary delegation as a move to strengthen and expand liaisons. Mr. Lukashenko is delighted, noting, “We’re ready to co-operate with you in all areas and are ready to expand our collaboration to the full extent you desire. We can raise trade turnover several fold but need to set up direct trade-economic ties, enabling us to act without intermediaries.”
Political dialogue continues at a high level, with the President of Belarus noting, “We don’t have any contradictions or disagreements regarding the global international political agenda.”
Mr. Lukashenko also thanked his guest for the assistance provided by Cambodia in helping Belarus gain observer status at the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Cambodia currently presides over this organisation and our interest in this region is well known. Friendly mutual relations have been established with a range of states, while business interaction is gaining momentum with some countries. This is a promising foreign political and economic direction, as the ASEAN unites ten states, with a total population of around 602m and total GDP of $1.8 trillion. Clearly, there is solid potential for developing mutually beneficial collaboration.
Heng Samrin thanked Belarus for a warm welcome and underlined Cambodia’s desire to further strengthen and reinforce relations.