11 January 2013
Belarus, Russia boost economic ties in 2012MINSK, 11 January (BelTA) – Belarus and Russia have considerably advanced in the formation of the single sci-tech space, trade and investment cooperation, Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of Belarus Andrei Savinykh told BelTA. Andrei Savinykh pointed to an active dialogue on the highest and high levels between the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation in 2012. Two sessions of the Union State Council of Ministers were held; a high-level group of the Union State Council of Ministers is operating. In July 2012 the Belarusian space spacecraft was launched together with the Russian satellite Canopus B. This allowed Belarus to create its own system for the remote sensing of the Earth. It will be the basis for establishing the Belarus-Russia orbital group that will provide a wide range of space-related services to consumers in the two countries. Belarus will also be able to sell space information to third countries. Andrei Savinykh underlined that Belarusian scientists intensified collaboration with the Skolkovo Foundation of Russia. The State Committee for Science and Technology of Belarus and the Skolkovo Foundation signed a cooperation agreement in science and innovations, outlined areas of the mutual interest, and approved joint projects. These projects will be implemented in the field of quantum information technologies, space and healthcare technologies and bio-information technologies. “Last year saw a steady increase in the bilateral trade,” the Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said. In January-November 2012 the bilateral trade exceeded $40 billion. Russia accounted for over 47% of Belarus’ foreign trade. Andrei Savinykh emphasized the importance of investment cooperation between Belarus and Russia. “The Russian Federation is the biggest investor in Belarus as regards foreign direct investments. About 2,200 companies with Russian capital (as of 1 January 2013) operate in Belarus, including over 1,300 joint ventures. Russia accounts for nearly 40% of the total number of companies with foreign capital working in Belarus. At the same time Belarus also sets up companies in Russia,” Andrei Savinykh said. He noted that there are 81 assembly factories making Belarusian products there. There are also over 200 commodity distribution companies operating in Russia.