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Belarus to expand presence in Klaipeda port

GRODNO, 27 September (BelTA) – Belarus plans to expand its presence in the Klaipeda port, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Lithuania Vladimir Drazhin said as he attended the national universal trade show Euroregion Neman 2013 in Grodno on 26 September, BelTA has learnt.

According to the diplomat, a growth in invetsemnt is directed connected to the expanding presence of Belarus in the Klaipeda seaport. In his words, Belaruskali has bought a third part of the main terminal used for the shipment of potash fertilizers to third countries. The sides are currently in talks on the acquisition of one more terminal. The move will allow increasing the cargo transshipment and reach higher volumes in cargo turnover. According to Vladimir Drazhin, a total of 13.5 million tonnes of Belarusian cargo was shipped in Klaipeda last year. “If we keep momentum, we will be able to hit 15 million tonnes in a year or two. It will provide us with an opportunity to reach $1 billion in mutual services. In 2012 the figure stood at $640 million,” the diplomat said.

Speaking about the development of business relations between Belarus and Lithuania, and between Lithuania and Grodno Oblast in particular, Vladimir Drazhin noted: “Today Grodno Oblast is the main economic partner of Lithuania. We have reached record high exports in goods, investment and mutual services. We expect Grodno exports to reach $50 million a year. About 25% of all Lithuania investment injected in Belarus this year has been destined for Grodno Oblast. 23 out of 62 regional agreements on cooperation signed with the Republic of Lithuania have been inked with Grodno Oblast.

We have an opportunity to increase trade by 25% every year. This year we expect the trade to go up 30%. Promising areas here include transportation and construction services. We expect them grow by 25%. Border regions such as Oshmyany, Ostrovets, Voronovo, Grodno and Shchuchin have been actively cooperation with Lithuanian partners. We can say that Grodno Oblast has become an attractive region for the Lithuania business,” the Ambassador said.

According to Vladimir Drazhin, Lithuania shows interest in investment projects in mechanical engineering. The country is also mulling over cooperation with Belarus’ Lidselmash and Lidagromash. Besides, there are plans to develop the exports of Belarusian construction materials and services to Lithuania. Belarusians, for their part, invite Lithuanian investors to join projects in motorway and tourist services in the near-border regions. “About 60 projects are currently under consideration,” the Ambassador said.