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Belarus welcomes Saudi Arabia investment, Vladimir Semashko says

Belarus invites Saudi Arabia to take part in investment projects, First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Semashko said as he met with Saudi Arabia Finance Minister Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Assaf in Minsk on 20 July. 

We can offer you any project including the construction of hotels and shopping centres, which are to be completed in by the IIHF World Championship in 2014,” Vladimir Semashko said. The government of “is ready to provide any assistance to businessmen”. 

The visit of Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Assaf is the first visit of ’s official to . This fact and also the signing of bilateral documents will make political and economic cooperation more efficient, Vladimir Semashko is sure. “During this difficult period of the financial and economic crisis it is important to diversify sales markets, to preserve the old ones and to advance into new ones. We hope that will become the market for Belarusian producers of vehicles and road equipment and other kinds of high-technology goods,” Vladimir Semashko said. also hopes to extend its reach into the markets of ’s neighbouring countries and also Africa . 

Vladimir Semashko expressed hope for the arrival of investment. For the past six years the investment in increased by 20-30% annually. In H1 2009 the investment was up by 16% over the same period last year. has been working hard on liberalizing its economy; many new regulations have been issued to promote investment. 

According to Vladimir Semashko, “the two sides need to find new avenues of cooperation and new projects which will benefit the two countries.” The countries need to expand the legal framework of bilateral cooperation, the First Vice-premier said. 

“We start the trading and economic cooperation with from scratch,” said Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Assaf. The documents which were signed in Minsk on 20 July are expected to promote bilateral links, to encourage investment in and increase Belarusian exports to Saudi Arabia. The next step should be business cooperation. There is a need to make a schedule of business visits for businessmen to get familiar with investment projects. 

The Finance Minister stressed that, according to the WB Doing Business 2009 report, Belarus is in the top ten in regulatory reforms to make doing business easier. He also added that is pursuing similar economic reforms. The state is the world leader in providing assistance to developing countries in agriculture, healthcare, social development. 

Saudi Arabia is a very promising market for Belarusian producers. In 2007 imports/exports operations between the countries were virtually non-existent. In 2008 exported truck tractors and optical products to to the tune of $1.77 million. In January-May 2009, exported dried milk, products made of ferrous metals, centrifuges ($420,000). 

Ethylene polymer is the major import from Saudi Arabia. In January-May 2009 imported $2mn worth of this product.

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