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Belarus EU Business Council starts discussing specific business projects in Minsk

The Belarus EU Business Council has started discussing specific business projects in Minsk. During the meeting at the Seat of Government on March 6 First Vice Premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko noted, “We are ready to get down to business and talk about specific cooperation issues with the delegation of the Belarus EU Business Council”. Vladimir Semashko welcomed representatives of the British business, who have come to Minsk for the first time.

The Council’s President James Wilson remarked, “It is the first part of the business meeting in Belarus”. He thanked the Belarusian side for organising the negotiations.

During the meeting the Belarusian side was represented by Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Amarin, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Yevdochenko, Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Tur, Belneftekhim Concern CEO Valery Kazakevich, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Great Britain and Northern Ireland Alexander Mikhnevich.

The Belarus EU Business Council was set up in May 2007. It is a non-commercial organisation registered and located in Brussels. At present the Council’s organising directors are James Wilson, who has previous experience of setting up similar councils with Ukraine and Croatia, and John Scollay, director of British Fintec UK Ltd.

So far several British companies, including Fintec UK Ltd and Stemcor, as well as Belarusian companies, namely, Belarusian Potash Company and Santa Bremor, have signed up for membership in the Council. Efforts are taken to extend the number of the Council members, first of all, with European companies.

The Belarus EU Business Council focuses efforts mainly on promoting relations between Belarus and the European Union, first of all, trade and economic ones, in particular, through joint resolution of issues relating to the certification of Belarusian meat and dairy products in line with EU requirements, removal of existing antidumping measures against several Belarusian goods. The Council is also supposed to assist with promoting products of Belarusian light industry, woodworking industry, and chemical industry companies on the European market.

The Belarus EU Business Council will contribute to dialogue during negotiations with EU member-states for Belarus’ accession to the WTO. The statement was made by Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Andrei Yevdochenko after a meeting of First Vice Premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko and a delegation of the Belarus EU Business Council in Minsk on March 6.

“It is a strategic avenue in activities of the Business Council and negotiations with European Union countries on accession to the WTO play the key role. We will work in such a serious avenue within the framework of the Council,” said the Deputy Foreign Minister.

In his words, among other important issues the Council will deal with will be quotas for Belarusian exports to Europe. The Council will also assist with decreasing antidumping duties applied against several Belarusian products in the European Union. Helping Belarus to restore its position on the European market is a task of the Council.

Besides, there are plans to step up efforts for exporting Belarusian agricultural and chemical products to the European Union. These types of products and several others are supplied to the European Union using special schemes under special terms involving certification and standardisation of products. The Council can lend a helping hand to Belarus in this area. Andrei Yevdochenko remarked, the European side also intends to hand over know-how technologies to Belarus and to keep it under control in order for Belarusian producers to more vigorously satisfy the European market.

The Minsk session of the Belarus EU Business Council attended by First Vice Premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko tabled a wide range of issues relating to Belarus’ new strategy for stepping up privatisation processes in the country, President of the Belarus EU Business Council and Macmilland Ltd company James Wilson told media in Minsk on March 6.

He noted during the first visit to Belarus they had managed to discuss many important topics, a meeting with Foreign Minister of Belarus Sergei Martynov also took place.

The Business Council intends to support trade relations between Belarus and the European Union. It will also contribute to bringing investments into the country. “I am glad to see that Belarus is inspired and ready to work with the European Union,” said the official. He also underscored, the main task of the Council is informing potential investors about the development of the Belarusian economy. It is important that Belarus’ economy is getting stronger, with this year’s GDP growth rate expected to reach 111%. “It is an excellent opportunity for cooperation and increasing investments. Which is why we are ready to work with Belarus, especially in such areas as agriculture, light industry, finance,” remarked James Wilson. He stressed, the Council will not seek investors, but will inform them about opportunities Belarus offers.

In turn, Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Andrei Yevdochenko noted, the Belarus EU Business Council is not a commercial company, but a voluntary association of Belarusian and European businesses founded with a view to strengthening dialogue and cooperation. In his opinion, this area is acquiring a new dimension today.

During the talks in Minsk the sides discussed cooperation with Belarusian Potash Company and Santa Bremor. The deputy minister believes, other companies could join the dialogue. “This way we will be able to handle many fundamental issues relating to our presence on the European market,” stressed Andrei Yevdochenko.

The removal of the golden share rule in Belarus is a good sign for European business communities, President of the Belarus EU Business Council James Wilson told media in Minsk on March 6.

James Wilson said, the fact demonstrates that one can do business in Belarus. “The decision of your country walks in step with general processes of rising competitive ability on international market. If Belarus wants to support its competitive ability, this decision is very logical,” he said.

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