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Austrian capital participates in many key projects in Belarus, Andrei Kobyakov says

Sciah
02.10.2008

Many major projects in Belarus are implemented with the participation of Austrian capital and technologies, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov said as he met with Johann Zaks, Director General for Foreign Trade Issues of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour of Austria, co-chairman of the Belarusian-Austrian committee on trade and economic cooperation in Minsk on October 2.

Andrei Kobyakov was glad to state that the trade and economic relations between the two countries are developing dynamically, especially in the recent years. In 2007, the bilateral trade exceeded $200 million.

“Despite the rapid growth, we believe that neither Belarus nor Austria are satisfied with the rate of the bilateral trade. Belarus has a significant deficit in the trade with Austria . We should not get upset about it, though we are planning to balance it. The major imports from Austria include machines and equipment which serve the basis for the modernization of the Belarusian economy. Many major projects in Belarus are implemented with the participation of Austrian capital and technologies,” Andrei Kobyakov said.

According to him, the Belarusian-Austrian committee on trade and economic cooperation headed by Johann Zaks plays an important role in the buildup of the bilateral trade. The Belarusian Vice Premier particularly pointed out the contribution made by Johann Zaks to the expansion of the bilateral cooperation and awarded the Austrian guest an honorary diploma of the Council of Ministers of Belarus.

Johann Zaks underlined that beginning from 1992, the trade between Belarus and Austria has been growing dramatically. The Belarusian export to Austria rose 4 times, the Austrian export to Belarus soared 6 times. He believes that the Belarus ’ deficit in the trade with Austria should not be viewed as a serious problem and there are possibilities to balance it. It is necessary to expand the range of the goods supplied to Austria .

Johann Zaks also noted that Austrian companies have intentions to invest in Belarus and would like to participate in privatization process in the country.

The Austrian delegation is in Belarus on a 3-day visit (October 1-3). The delegation includes representatives of 40 companies who are to hold talks with Belarusian partners.

The Austrian side is interested in the further expansion of the trade and economic cooperation with Belarus . “A good economic cooperation is a prerequisite for the development of a political dialogue,” the official highlighted.

In 2007, the trade between Belarus and Austria made up $205.6 million, or 64.6% up as against 2006. Belarusian exports increased 36.2% to make up $29.7 million, imports increased 73.5% to make up $175.9 million. More than 59% of Belarus ’ exports to Austria were ferrous metallurgy and timber products, chemical products, fruits, nuts, frozen vegetables, glass fiber. In 2007, Austria ranked 19th among non-CIS countries on Belarus ’ trade partners list.

In 2008, the two countries preserved the positive trends in the mutual trade. Over January-July 2008, the growth rate of the trade between Belarus and Austria made up 130.5% as against the same period of 2007 ($138.4 million) including exports – 144.3% ($24.1 million), imports – 127.9% ($114.3 million).

Austria is among the five major foreign investors of Belarus . In 2007, Belarus attracted $594.3 million of Austrian investments. In H1 2008, Belarus attracted $357.6 million of Austrian investments including direct investments at the amount of $18.5 million. The basic investment sources are the export of Austrian equipment within the framework of investment projects and loans of Austrian banks to finance foreign trade contracts.

The legal-treaty base of the Belarusian-Austrian relations numbers 11 agreements.

Source: BelTA, www.belta.by

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