So far, focus on the economy in relations with the West has not led to tangible results
Minsk further avoids the sensitive issue in relations with the West and persistently looks for opportunities to penetrate the European market and attract Western investment in the domestic economy.
On June 25th, 2019, in Rome, the second meeting of the Intergovernmental Belarusian-Italian Commission for Economic Cooperation was held. During the meeting, the parties discussed bilateral trade, cooperation in industry, infrastructure and transport, banking and finance, and other spheres. Belarus particularly marked the existing economic benefits and the economy’s digitization. In addition, the parties held a business forum organized by the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce, “CNA” – the National Confederation of Italian craftsmen, small and medium enterprises, and ICE, an Italian Trade Agency.
On June 25th, a Hungarian government delegation, headed by the State Secretary of Foreign Economic Relations and Foreign Affairs Ministry of Hungary, Tamás Menczer visited Belarus and met with Deputy Foreign Minister Krauchanka.
On the same day, Belarus hosted talks on Belarusian-Hungarian energy cooperation. Belarus was represented by Energy Minister Viktar Karankevich and his deputy Mikhail Mikhadzyuk, representatives of the Department of Nuclear Energy of the Energy Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Department for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of the Emergency Ministry, the state association “Belenergo”. Hungarian delegation was headed by Minister without portfolio – responsible for the planning, construction and commissioning of the two new blocks at the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, János Süli. Before the talks, the Hungarian delegation visited Astraviec and the Belarusian NPP construction site. According to Süli, the delegation arrived in Belarus not to give an expert opinion, but to learn about the positive experience of an NPP project construction. That said, the construction of the Hungarian NPP Paks II with two VVER-1200 is also carried out by “Rosatom”, a Russian corporation.
Despite Belarus’ efforts to boost exports, trade turnover with the EU in Q1 2019 decreased by 9.2% – to USD 5.3026 billion as compared with Q1 2018. Exports to the EU decreased by 15.9% and imports – increased by 1.3%.
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Situation in Belarus