Aleksandr Lukashenko hears out report from First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko met with First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Semashko on 27 May to receive his report.

    In view of the forthcoming Astana session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council the head of state was primarily interested in matters of cooperation in the Single Economic Space and prospects of building the Eurasian Economic Union. “First of all, Russia. What problems do we have now in view of the fact that, as you know, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow I will have consultations and negotiations about it with the President of Kazakhstan and the President of Russia?” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    The advancement of Belarus-Venezuela relations was the second topic discussed at the meeting. “A joint session of our intergovernmental commission may take place in June. Certain time has passed and I am getting reports that it is time we intensified our relations and negotiations in all areas, political and economic ones alike,” remarked the President. He asked Vladimir Semashko to submit his proposals regarding this matter.

    “Then there is the third problem, a domestic one — the operation of the production sector. I am most concerned about it, particularly the sales of finished products. I’d like to hear possible proposals in view of my instructions regarding sales of mechanical engineering industry products on the home market. But schemes and systems of reciprocal payments for these products are the most important thing,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    Vladimir Semashko informed the President about the work the government had done to advance relations with Russia and resolve several issues concerning integration projects. “All in all, things are going well, there is movement, dynamics. The matter of balances for the first half of the year has been resolved, changes are positive,” remarked the First Vice Premier.

    As far as Belarusian-Venezuelan relations are concerned, Vladimir Semashko stated that so far nearly $0.5 billion worth of investment projects have been implemented in Venezuela. Four factories have been built to make ceramic bricks, assemble MAZ vehicles, tractors, municipal and road construction machines. Belarusian builders are involved in the construction of several residential areas and some of them have been commissioned already. Besides, joint projects worth about $3 billion are at various stages of discussion and implementation.

    The stance of the Belarusian side was discussed in view of the forthcoming session of the Belarusian-Venezuelan commission for trade and economic cooperation. The President gave relevant instructions.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko was informed about the national production sector performance since the beginning of the year and the prospects of hitting forecast targets this year. “For now the production sector of Belarus is below the target. But there is certain dynamics in ministries, concerns, and committees. Instructions have been given to hit the industrial output target of at least 107% this year,” remarked Vladimir Semashko. “Additional mechanisms should be used to reach this goal. Nobody denies the fact that the macroeconomic situation is not a simple one. First of all, the global recession is having an effect. Second, Russia joined the WTO on 1 January while the Russian market is a primary one for us, particularly for selling mechanical engineering products. We have already felt the full scale of the negative factors after getting landed in the WTO due to our being part of the Customs Union”.

    “These two global processes have undoubtedly affected the performance of the national production sector. But the measures that have been taken and what we have done so far should produce a positive result at the end of the year,” the First Vice Premier is convinced.

    Vladimir Semashko remarked that in the last ten years the Belarusian production sector has demonstrated rather high growth rates even in difficult times. “Capacity has been created and a work system is in place, therefore we must not reduce the pace,” he concluded.