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China’s aid in building fast railway to connect Minsk city, Minsk airport possible

MINSK, 30 August (BelTA) – The Minsk Oblast administration is considering the possibility of China’s involvement in building a fast railway to connect the city of Minsk and the National Airport Minsk. The information was released by Chairman of the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee Boris Batura at a meeting with Chinese reporters on 30 August, BelTA has learned.

The head of the Minsk Oblast administration said: “China is working hard to develop rapid railway transportation. The possibility of building a rapid railway from Minsk to the national airport is being discussed with the Chinese side. Belarus pays close attention to the development of railway transportation. A factory is now being built to make commuter trains in association with a Swiss company”.

Andrei Gubkin, Head of the Foreign Economic Ties Office of the Economy Committee of the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee, added that there is a great interest in enabling as shortest as possible travel times between Minsk and the airport. “We are now looking for an investor to build the high-speed railway,” he said.

The Minsk Oblast Governor underlined that China is a strategic partner for Belarus while Guangdong Province is such a partner for Minsk Oblast. A regular visit of the Minsk Oblast delegation to the Chinese province is scheduled for November 2013. The sides are expected to discuss the possible involvement of Guangdong Province as a founder in the project to build the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park. Apart from that, Minsk Oblast culture days will take place in Guangdong Province.

The Minsk Oblast Governor also said he was confident that partnership between the Republic of Belarus and the People’s Republic of China will produce serious results and will work to improve living standards of both nations.

The Chinese reporters visited the Minsk Oblast administration as part of the large-scale project “Understanding China via the new Silk Road – an international media tour”. The project is designed to promote economic, trade, and cultural cooperation between Chongqing Province and the countries, which the transcontinental railroad Chongqing - Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region – Europe crosses. Representatives of Chinese mass media will end the media tour in Germany.

Chinese reporters were most interested in the development of railway transport, tourism in Belarus as well as the state of the investment climate in Minsk Oblast. Among preferences granted to businesses Andrei Gubkin mentioned special terms offered in the free economic zone Minsk, in small and medium towns, as well as preferences laid down by presidential decree No. 10.

In January-June 2013 the trade turnover between Minsk Oblast and the People’s Republic of China exceeded $398 million, 33.5% up from January-June 2012. Minsk Oblast exported $216.6 million worth of commodities, with import at $182 million.