Report of Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei to discuss the state and prospects of foreign economic relations and the schedule of forthcoming international meetings and events.

“First and foremost, we need to analyze foreign economic activity. We have a more or less stable situation in our foreign policy. Our general foreign policy priorities have been identified. No matter whether someone likes it or not, the multi-vector nature of our politics is predetermined by our place in the world determined by Our Lord. There is no escaping it,” the Belarusian leader said.

“I have already said that economy is our number one priority. If there is anything to worry about it should be economy and its development prospects,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He underlined that export is the basis of Belarusian economy. Therefore, foreign economic activities are focused on export. “What is the situation like in this regard?” the head of state asked.

The second question dealt with the schedule of forthcoming events, first of all, highest-level contacts. “This pertains to the events involving the president in the rest of the year, including domestic and international events. We have agreed that this should be systematized and reported to me,” he said.

Speaking about foreign economic activities, Vladimir Makei pointed to challenges and positive trends. In H1 2018 the export rose by 19.4%. The share of high-tech products has been increasing. “Export growth can be observed in all the markets, with growth figures varying from 4% to nearly 30% depending on the export destination. It is encouraging. Foreign economic contacts with China are on the rise. We have a 37% growth here. Agricultural products have also been involved in foreign trade,” the minister noted.

After the meeting with the president, Vladimir Makei told reporters about existing failures and difficulties in this field. “Unfortunately, the export growth is slowing down throughout the year. The share of high-tech products in our total exports remains insignificant – 2.5% in general and under 1% on the EU market,” he said.

Belarus was unable so far to diversify and evenly distribute its exports in proportion of one third to the markets of the EU, the EAEU and far away countries. “The export to all these markets has somewhat increased. However, there is still a lot to be done,” the minister noted.

As far as the work of Belarusian diplomatic missions is concerned, the overwhelming majority of embassies fulfill export targets. “The failure to achieve export targets was reported in 12 countries. Therefore, these countries were in focus of today’s meeting with the president. There are certainly some objective reasons related to economic situation in this or another country. At the same time, the president set a task to boost export to all the countries we cooperate with by the end of the year. Today, we sell our products in 171 countries worldwide,” Vladimir Makei said.

“The president gave clear-cut and specific instructions for each region. The head of state was informed about those who fail to meet export targets. Instructions were given to deal with each economic entity and each region that fall behind these targets,” Vladimir Makei added.

The minister also provided details about the schedule of the forthcoming international contacts that are due to take place till the end of the year. The schedule will be very busy. The head of state is expected to participate in a number of important international events that will be hosted by Belarus. Among them are the OSCE-wide conference on combating terrorism in digital age and the Munich Security Conference Core Group Meeting. Aleksandr Lukashenko is expected to visit a number of foreign states, including as part of his commitments to various integration associations (the CIS, the CSTO and the EAEU). The next visit will be to Uzbekistan.