Press Release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
"The results of the foreign economic activities of Belarus in 2005 lay a good foundation for the successful work in 2006 and within the next five-year term", Foreign Minister of Belarus Sergei Martynov stated on 1 March at a meeting of the Belarusian foreign ministry board attended by Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky, heads of state bodies and companies.
"Effective foreign trade is a matter of survival for Belarus. For this reason pragmatic and rational approaches are applied in this field", Mr. Martynov noted. "In 2005 the main principles of this policy were determined: aggressive foreign economic competition, export diversification, enhanced competitive power of products, new working forms and mechanisms which envisage development of branch-wise and regional export encouragement strategies".
"The results of 2005 demonstrate that the right approaches had been applied", the foreign minister underlined. The export of goods was record high and exceeded USD 16 billion. For the first time export surpassed import. Belarus had a foreign trade surplus.
The exports significantly grew to all regions except Russia in comparison with 2004. In 2005 Belarus managed to cut down its trading deficit with a number of countries. Belarus gained trade surplus in trade with Ukraine, the USA, France and Cuba.
"The results we have achieved have come on the back of intensive efforts of the government, all ministries and concerns, regional executive committees and Minsk City Council, the foreign ministry and diplomatic missions", Mr. Martynov stated. Further work should focus on intensifying contacts with Russia - the major trading partner of Belarus. "The transition to a new VAT pattern in 2005 highlighted our weak points in trade with Russia. In particular, it concerns the commodity distribution network. In 2006 Belarus aims to increase its exports to Russia by 13.3 per cent to replicate the record high performance of 2004. There is no retreating from our positions on the Russian market", Mr. Martynov stressed