The Belt and Road participating states need to coordinate their action to maximize assistance for the expansion of economic cooperation and removal of the existing barriers, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he spoke at the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on 26 April.
“The Belt and Road initiative confirm the wisdom of our ancestors who knew that the development of a separate country is almost impossible without interaction with other states. Modern technology makes the world a smaller place. Geographical distance is no longer an obstacle for building close partnership,” said the head of state.
In his words, with the emergence of the digital era, which brought about a new speed of work with information and cash flows, it would be logical to expect significant progress in trade. However, there are still artificially-created tariff, non-tariff, technical, and administrative barriers in the commodity flow. “If we want to expand our economic cooperation, add a powerful impetus to the development of economies, we need to work more efficiently to remove all types of barriers. Doing this in a single state is the same as eliminating one traffic jam in a big city. It will just take you quicker to the next one. Our common task is to coordinate actions along the entire length of the Belt and Road project,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus, which is a transit channel for commodity flows from east to west and from north to south, is most interested in the existence of a fair, equitable and transparent system of international trade. He listed three issues in which, according to Belarus, practical results will be achieved in the near future.
Firstly, this is the development of digital transport corridors, primarily between China and Europe. The use of modern satellite navigation allows the countries to remove unnecessary customs and other inspections, reduce journey time for container trains by almost a week. “Belarus has already been successfully testing this. We suggest combining the efforts of China’s authorized operator and the national Belarusian operator for the joint implementation of the project,” the head of state said.
Secondly, this is the abolition of the licensing system of international road transportation, which will be an additional incentive for the development of transport and logistics activities.
Thirdly, this is a stronger interconnection of infrastructure facilities. “We need further reconstruction of border stations, roads and railways, bridges, the development of multimodal transport hubs. Interconnected infrastructure is a basic element of development through cooperation,” the Belarusian leader said.
“It depends on us whether to follow the new standards of economic cooperation, create a new large family or return to outdated geopolitical maneuvers. A strong one will overcome the obstacle, a wise one will make through the whole way,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
The Belarusian President wished the forum participants strength to overcome all the obstacles that arise in the joint work on the Belt and Road project, and also wisdom to successfully implement the projects of this global initiative for the benefit of the peoples.