Experts believe duty-free trade between Belarus and Moldova might account for 85% of the overall trade between the two countries. Exports of Belarusian high-tech goods and knowledge-intensive products are expected to rise as fast as never before.
Belarus’ Ambassador to Moldova Vasily Sakovich has recently met with Moldova’s deputy foreign minister supervising European integration Yevgenia Kisturga to address Belarus-Moldova economic relations.
According to official data, in 2005 all plans were carried out in culture, science, education, trade and economy. Last year saw a visit of the Moldovan premier to Belarus, president of the Moldovan Academy of Sciences and a regular meeting of the intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation. Last year’s trade turnover was record high, over $170 million. Moldova is interested in Belarusian timber, industrial and energy technologies, fertilizers, food, textiles. In turn, Belarus steadily increases imports of fruit and vegetables, tobacco and tobacco goods, and is eager to help Moldova develop its oil extracting and oil refining industries. Belarus also imports seedlings, grape, corn seeds, while Moldova imports flax seeds and forestry materials.
Yevgenia Kisturga noted that Moldova was ready to implement the agreements reached at the level of ministries and regions, and Moldovan top officials, including Agriculture Minister Anatoly Gorodenko and Industry and Infrastructure Minister Vladimir Antosiy, are expected to visit Belarus soon to address specific projects. It is planned to establish joint ventures in 10 sectors, including transport and energy. The shipping projects Daugava-Dnepr, Neman-Bug-Dnepr and similar projects in the west of the former Soviet Union will boost the Danube-Black Sea freight transit through Moldova.
Besides, Moldova believes Belarus’ experience in foreign and domestic policies may be very helpful. At the same time, duties in mutual trade are going down, and transit fees follow suit. In 2005 Moldovan foreign trade transit via Belarus rose by a third, while the number of tourists from Belarus doubled last year.
Belarus-Moldova relations are essential for the whole region: last year Belarus became an associated member and observer of the Black Sea Association of Economic Cooperation. Another important aspect is the support that Moldova provides for Belarus as a member of the World Trade Organization from 2002.
by Valeria Stas