Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko hopes to restore the level of the Belarusian-Algerian relations. He made the statement at the meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria Abdelkader Messahel on 20 February.
“The level of relations which exists between Belarus and your friendly country is far from ideal, especially against the backdrop of the fall in the trade and economic ties. Both you and us have not done our best,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “Therefore, I said, half joking, half serious, that you finally arrived in Minsk hoping that your visit will give a serious impetus to the development of our relations. I hope that we will at least restore the previous level of relations between our countries.”
The President emphasized that the bilateral trade between Belarus and Algeria used to exceed $200 million per year. The head of state is convinced that it is possible to restore the previous level.
A low level of the Belarusian-Algerian trade is attributed to Algeria’s prioritizing trade with the European Union countries where the state enjoys such preferential terms as zero tariff rates. In 2015, Belarus’ export to Algeria fell significantly because the Algerian government took measures to reduce import in view of the economic slowdown caused by the decrease in the world oil prices. In 2017, the bilateral trade made up almost $2 million. Belarus’ major exports are potash fertilizers and stationery, major imports are medications and fruit.
During the talks the sides agreed to advance the bilateral cooperation to a brand-new level. The states are ready to step up efforts in this field and use the experience of deep cooperation. Belarusian and Algerian business circles will be actively involved in this process.
Belarus’ interest in Algeria can be explained by its geographical location. This state is the largest in Africa. It borders several countries, which opens up vast opportunities for Belarus in and the economy and trade.
The greatest prospects for the development of the Belarusian-Algerian cooperation are in the agricultural industry and manufacturing. In particular, Belarus is ready to deliver foodstuffs (Algeria is interested in dairy products and grain), export equipment or set up assembly facilities in free niches.
Algeria is also eager to develop the military and technical cooperation with Belarus because the country pays much attention to security aspects.