It was a true paradise for reporters in Palace of the Republic, Minsk, in first half of September. Small wonder! About 2 thousand high-rank officials, scientists and business elite from Belarus and Russia gathered there. So many matters and topics to discuss! Reporters had nothing to do but change tapes in their recorders. Everything was new and unusual at the First Russian-Belarusian economy Forum. Naturally, discussion was not limited by the territory from Brest to Kuril Islands. Canvass of acute problems of Unified economy space and strategy and tactics of Union state was projected to general trends of the continent and the world. And, of course, we couldn′t miss the opportunity to talk to Forum participants.
Andrei Kobiakov, deputy Prime Minister of Belarus:
"This is a very important event, which will point out basic principles, objectives and directions of cooperation. Belarus is now entering new five-years period; we have designed a social-economic development concept and it will be impossible to go any further without agreement with the country that guarantees nearly half of our foreign trade."
Gennady Seleznev, deputy at State Duma of Russia:
"Iterests of Belarusian business in Russia and vice versa are spanless. Last year we reached $17.7 billion commodity turnover, this year we hope jump over $20 billion. To my mind, the Forum will give an impetus to further cooperation."
Nikolai Korbut, Belarusian Minister of Finance:
"We hope to settle some VAT problems connected with destination of commodities. For instance, we have met needs of our enterprises and worked out an admissible scheme of tax offsets. However, according to Russian exporters, our counterparts have certain difficulties and it has become unprofitable for them to supply their products to Belarus. I suppose there′s much to think over together."
Sergei Baburin, deputy chairman at State Duma of Russia:
"Sometimes certain disagreement between politicians and social and economic processes is observed. Thus the necessity of this large-scale economy Forum must be apparent, I think."