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Belarus to expand its presence in Southeast Asia

MINSK, 5 December (BelTA) – Developing cooperation with Vietnam Belarus plans to expand its presence on the Southeast Asian market, Belarus Premier Mikhail Myasnikovich told media commenting on his visit to Vietnam.

The creation of the free trade zone between the Customs Union and Vietnam will contribute to it. “We consider Vietnam as a strategic partner in Southeast Asia and it regards not only bilateral relations,” said the PM. “Following the Customs Union consultations and negotiations with Vladimir Putin and our Kazakh colleagues, there has been made a decision to consider the possibility of signing an agreement on the free trade zone between Vietnam and the Customs Union,” Mikhail Myasnikovich added. It will considerably simplify mutual trade. “The matter concerns not only Vietnam but also the ASEAN countries. Thus, we can talk about a large-scale operation of the Customs union on the market of Southeast Asia taking into account Belarus’ interests,” Mikhail Myasnikovich noted.

Customs duties on certain goods imported from Belarus to Vietnam reach 40% today. “Once the agreement on the free trade zone is signed these tariffs will be considerably reduced,” Mikhail Myasnikovich said.

Belarus signed a number of contracts to deliver potash fertilizers, quarry equipment, tractors, tyres and other products to Vietnam. “On the whole, there have been signed $200 million worth of contracts,” Mikhail Myasnikovich said.

He added that the Vietnamese market is very active and the Belarusian producers will have to compete there with companies from China, Japan and Indonesia. In his words, Belarus should readjust its commodity-distribution network in the countries which know Belarusian products, including in Vietnam.