Prime Minister of Belarus: logistics will boost Belarus-Lithuania trade

Logistics will become a starting point for increasing trade between Belarus and Lithuania, Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky told media after his meeting with Lithuanian Premier Andrius Kubilius in Vilnius on 30 April.

The Belarusian Premier noted that during a working visit to Lithuania on 29 April a decision was made on granting a soft loan to construct a large logistics center in Volozhin for the Belarusian-Lithuanian forwarders. The two sides are discussing the ways to improve the border infrastructure in order to promote business development.

The two sides considered several wood working projects. In particular, Klaipeda businessmen offer to construct a plant near Mogilev to produce hardboard and laminboard. All the products will be exported. Lithuanian businessmen are also interested in investing into Belarus' processing industry. There are plans to construct an up-to-date processing plant with a preliminary amount of investment to the tune of USD 100 million.

"All the aforesaid will make the basis for developing the potential of the Belarusian and Lithuanian economies," Sergei Sidorsky said. He also informed on the initiative to build up the Minsk-Vilnius high speed railway within the Eastern Partnership programme.

The possibility of supplying Venezuelan oil to Belarus via Lithuanian port Butinge can determined by commercial reasons, Prime Minister told.

"In the near future all commercial pros and cons of transshipping the oil will be evaluated," said the head of Government.

He stressed that Belarus is working hard to explore oil reserves in Iran and Venezuela. "The oil to be extracted will be shipped to Belarusian oil refineries for advanced processing," explained Sergei Sidorsky. "At present the crude oil upgrading index stands at 72%. In the near future it will be increased up to 92%, which is as good as products of the world's best manufacturers. In the future Belarus will export derived products".

In 2009 the Klaipeda port transshipped 6,138,400 tonnes of Belarusian exports, 100.3% as against 2008. The rise is attributed to the increased traffic of oil and petroleum products (103.3%), peat (263%) as well as forestry products, agricultural machines. In addition the Klaipeda port also transships Belarusian ferrous metals, chemicals and soda, food and so on.

In January-March 2010 the transshipment of Belarusian cargoes via the Klaipeda port increased by 82.7% in comparison with the same period of last year. The growth is maply attributed to the transshipment of chemical and mineral fertilizers (90.9% up). In Q1 2010 Klaipeda transshipped over 2 million tonnes of Belarusian exports, which is comparable to the total transshipment via ports of Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine and Russia.

Belarus and Lithuanian need to create most comfortable conditions to facilitate travel and communication between people, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky said.

Sergei Sidorsky informed that the issue of facilitating travel of the citizens of the two countries was discussed during his working trip to Lithuania. Last year 1.5 million Belarusians and 1.6 million Lithuanians crossed the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. As for facilitating travel in the 50km border zone, "relevant proposals were handed over to the Lithuanian Government and are under consideration now," Sergei Sidorsky said.

"We need to examine the activities of the customs services of Lithuania and Belarus in the wake of the creation of the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan. On 1 July all kinds of control including sanitary control will be deployed on the exterior border. We would like our Lithuanian colleagues to feel comfortable on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. We want transport cargo from the European Union to pass border control without delay," said Sergei Sidorsky.

Belarusian specialists and their Russian and European counterparts actively work on purchasing a power unit and construction of the nuclear power plant, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky told reporters.

According to the Belarusian Prime Minister, the future Belarusian nuclear power plant is expected to be launched in 2015-2016. The official guarantees the ecological safety of the future NPP. "Belarus immensely suffered from the Chernobyl accident (about 60% of the total territory was contaminated). So, we pay great attention to the security of the nuclear power plant," he said.

Sergei Sidorsky noted that the process of the construction of the future Belarusian nuclear power plant is under control of the international and European organizations including IAEA. The Prime Minister added that all the necessary documents related to the construction of the nuclear power plant in Belarus were presented to the Lithuanian side in proper time.


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