from 05.11.2016

Andrei Kobyakov participated at the 5th Meeting of the Heads of Government of Central and Eastern European Countries and China

Belarus is interested in participating in the events of the 16+1 initiative as an observer, Belarus’ Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said at the 5th Meeting of the Heads of Government of Central and Eastern European Countries and China (16+1) on 5 November.

“We are ready for further active participation in similar and other events of the 16+1 format as an observer. We are confident that everyone will win from building common economic corridors in close association with the seaport infrastructure of the Baltic states,” Andrei Kobyakov noted.

Belarus will do its best to develop cooperation with European and Chinese partners using various platforms and formats for negotiations, the Prime Minister stressed.

In his words, Belarus enjoys trust-based comprehensive strategic partnership with China. “It is symbolic that the meeting is held in the year announced in the Eurasian Economic Union as the year of strengthening economic relations on a global scale,” the Prime Minister said.

“Belarus, with its intention for an economy of the future, believes as vitally important to develop such an open and transparent economic space that will to be based on the fundamental principles of the WTO,” Andrei Kobyakov said.

According to him, Belarus can be viewed as an intergrading element in the trade between the states of the European and Eurasian Unions, the countries of the Asia-Pacific Region, Scandinavia and the Balkans.

“It is clear that not only Belarus provides open access to the 180-million-strong market of the Eurasian Economic Union. However, the shortest “logistics shoulder” with the European Union is across Minsk. When we speak about the EEU, we mean the free movement of goods, services, capital and workforce, uniform tariffs, equal doing business conditions,” the Prime Minister said.

Andrei Kobyakov also stressed that Belarus offers various preferential terms. Companies may reduce investment costs and tax burden if they locate business within the six free economic zones, the Hi-Tech Park, small and medium-sized cities of Belarus.

“Speaking about Belarus, experts often use the phase “favorable geographic position”. If we take a look at the map of Europe, we will see that Minsk is almost equidistant from the capitals of the neighboring countries both in the East and the West. Although I would say it is equally close to them,” the Belarusian head of government said.

Following the 16 + 1 meeting the heads of government signed a declaration on cooperation. According to the document, partnership in transport and logistics will be the primary focus of interaction. Projects to develop the international transport corridors Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea with the use of ports and industrial parks have been identified as priority projects.

Andrei Kobyakov attended the 16 + 1 meeting and business forum in Riga on 5 November. Belarus participated in the meeting in the capacity of a special guest.

The 16+1 format is China’s initiative to develop cooperation with 11 EU member states and five Balkan states (Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Estonia) in the areas of investment, transport, finance, science, education and culture.