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Call to maintain mutually beneficial relations in Belarus-Russia trade

MINSK (BelTA) - It is important to maintain mutually beneficial and partnership relations in the bilateral trade with Russia, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with head of the Republic of Karelia, the Russian Federation, Artur Parfenchikov on 13 December, BelTA informs.

The head of state touched upon this topic in the context of the export of Belarusian foodstuffs and cooperation in agribusiness. “Your market is interesting for us because it is close. I can even say that this is a premium market. And we are ready to cooperate with you. And we want to cooperate in a way not to ruin the balance. Moreover, we help you and will help you if necessary understanding that we create competition for ourselves. But brotherly nations should not have such approaches. We must help each other,” the Belarusian leader said.

“I am absolutely convinced that the Russian market will always be enough for us if there are no obstacles. Russian products are in demand on foreign markets. Therefore, it is necessary to substitute these products,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

As an example he mentioned China that stopped importing soy from the USA because it was possible to expand the import from Russia. “Russia can export a lot of products to China and set good prices. I have discussed this topic with the president. So we can make any product for us and for Russia. It makes sense to balance out all these flows,” the head of state said. “We tried to balance it out, signed agreements, but failed to fulfill them sometimes. I think we will handle this issue during the talks.”

Alexander Lukashenko remarked that a lot has been recently said about Russia blocking the delivery of certain Belarusian products. “It is just competition,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

He added that Belarus was sometimes reproached for dumping on the Russian market, i.e. the delivery of cheaper products. “I often tell Russian government members that we can supply products to the entire Russia though a certain company. We will sell products to you for 1 rouble, and you can then sell them for 10 roubles if you believe that Russian people are very rich. There is unfair competition here. It has nothing to do with quality,” the head of state is convinced.

In this regard, the president said that quality standards have been preserved and even toughened in Belarus since Soviet times. “You had certain technical regulations, we had those quality standards, we make natural products, you use additives. Your products were cheaper because if it, ours are more expensive. And we could not compete after the disintegration of the Soviet Union on these markets because the population was not rich. It was difficult for us to compete because natural products were more expensive,” the president said. “Back then I set a task to work hard to make a difference. I believed that the situation would change in 2-3 years. People will not be poor all the time, they will want to spend their money on natural products. And it happened.”

According to Alexander Lukashenko, there was an instruction to diversify sales markets amid the attacks in relation to Belarusian products. “This is an axiom for any state. You should not concentrate on only one market, even if it is the friendliest brotherly state,” the Belarusian leader said.

In this context Belarus is trying to balance out its export equal amounts to the Russian market, the European Union and other countries. “If Russia pursues this policy in the future, of course, we will turn to other markets,” the president said.