Belarus calls for greater industrial cooperation with Iran

MINSK -- The newly appointed Belarusian industrial minister called for the expansion of Tehran-Minsk industrial cooperation, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting reported on Friday.

The Belarusian minister Radovic (whose first name was not mentioned) and the Iranian envoy Seyyed Abdullah Hosseini in a meeting in Minsk reviewed the status quo of technical and engineering projects underway by Iranian firms in Belarus, dispatching commercial delegations, and holding exclusive Iranian exhibitions in Belarus.

The ambassador also invited the Belarusian official to take part in the second joint commission of industry and mines which is planned to be held in Tehran.

Important industrial projects between the two countries include oil extraction from Jofeir field, implementation of the phase 2 of Samand car production, launching a wire producing factory through Iranian private sector investment, and establishing a cement factory and a truck manufacturing plant.

In May 2007, the two countries signed cooperation accords, following a meeting of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They signed a joint communique on the results of the visit to Belarus by President Ahmadinejad. President Lukashenko said that Belarus and Iran have removed all the impediments to the bilateral trade.

In 2008, Belarus-Iran trade made $93.8 million (up 23.6 percent), with Belarus' export as high as $83.7 million (up 25.8 percent), import - $10.2 million (up 8.3 percent). The foreign trade surplus totaled $73.5 million. Belarus' main exports are potash fertilizers, synthetic fibers, synthetic fiber cords, while the main imports are cars, grapes, spare parts for automobiles and tractors.

Iranian investments in Belarus amounted to $13.1 million in 2008, including $9.9 million in direct investments.

Belarus and Iran claim that they can raise the mutual trade turnover up to $1 billion



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