Belarus, Libya need new cooperation schemes

Belarus and Libya should be more active at searching for new ways of cooperation, said Belarus First Vice Premier Vladimir Semashko as he met with Mohammed Mahmoud al-Hijazi, Secretary of the General People's Committee for Health and Environment of Libya, in Minsk on 27 October.

The Libyan guest has arrived in Minsk to participate in a session of the Belarusian-Libyan intergovernmental commission for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation. Vladimir Semashko and Mohammed Mahmoud al-Hijazi are co-chairmen of the commission.

Vladimir Semashko stated that Belarus and Libya have been working hard lately to promote political and economic relations. Belarus' national exhibition was represented at the Tripoli Fair in April 2009. At the same time the two countries inked a protocol, which covers the entire range of relations: development of industrial manufacturing, transport, civil engineering, education, healthcare, that is all the areas the two countries are interested in nowadays, said the First Vice Premier.

Unfortunately, so far little has been done to put this project in practice. In January-August 2009 Belarus-Libya trade shrank to 47.1% to make up USD 8.9 million. "We should be more active at searching for new cooperation schemes so that the mutual trade would be calculated in hundreds of millions of dollars at least," believes Vladimir Semashko. He said he was confident that the arrival of Mohammed Mahmoud al-Hijazi and the forthcoming session of the joint commission would give a boost to the development of new cooperation avenues.

Mohammed Mahmoud al-Hijazi stressed the importance of promoting cooperation with Belarus in industry, trade, healthcare and education. "We desire to promote cooperation with Belarus in all areas together with leader of Libya Muammar Gaddafi," he said. Mohammed Mahmoud al-Hijazi specified that it would benefit the two nations.

For the last seven years the Belarus-Libya trade and economic cooperation has not been stable. Since 2002 Belarus has been enjoying a permanent trade surplus.

In 2007 the Belarus-Libya trade made up USD 4 million, in 2008 - USD 19.2 million (380% up on 2007). Belarus exported MAZ vehicles and spare parts as well as milk powder to Libya. In 2007-2008 Belarus' export to Libya made up 100% of the bilateral trade. In 2008 Belarus' export to Libya was dominated by carbon steel semi-products (BMZ), with milk powder (Bellakt) supplied in inconsiderable amounts.

In January-August 2009 Belarus' export to Libya made up USD 8.9 million (27% as against the same period of last year). The exports were mainly BMZ rolled metal products and MAZ automobiles.



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