Belarus develops cooperation with Asia
The Belarusian government is studying opportunities for Belarusian issuers on Asian stock exchanges. Belarus and China plan to expand investment cooperation in agriculture. China’s Eximbank will issue a USD 343.9 million loan for the reconstruction of Minsk – Gomel road M-5 / E 271 (Bobruisk – Zhlobin section).
Prime Minister of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich, speaking at Russian-Belarusian-Kazakh Business Forum, referring to the economic problems in Europe invited the Customs Union countries to shift the focus on trade and economic cooperation with Asia (including ASEAN).
In the meanwhile, during the official visit to Indonesia and Laos on June 11-14, Belarus’ Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov, met with Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, with Laos President Choummaly Sayasone, Prime Minister of Laos Thongsing Thammavong, Indonesian and Laotian foreign, trade, industry, transport, defense, research and technology ministers, with the leadership of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and business communities of both countries.
In turn, the Acting Minister of Agriculture and Foodstuffs of Belarus Leonid Marinich and Chinese Deputy Minister of Agriculture Niu Dun on June 13 discussed enhancement of investment cooperation in the agriculture.
In addition, China continues to increase lending cooperation with Belarus. Thus, Chinese Eximbank will allocate a USD 343.9 million loan for the reconstruction of Minsk – Gomel road M-5 / E 271 (Bobruisk – Zhlobin section). In November 2011 Eximbank issued a USD 340 million consumer loan for the reconstruction of Zhlobin – Gomel section.
Finally, the Belarusian Finance Ministry and Korea Stock Exchange (KRX) on June 12 signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Chairman of the Korea Stock Exchange Kim Bongsoo said that bilateral cooperation will allow sharing Korean stock market experience with Belarus and will create conditions for Belarusian issuers to enter the South Korean financial market.
For reference. In March 2012 the South Korean stock market capitalization reached USD 1.1 trillion. KRX is ranked 9th in the world in terms of listed companies.
Therefore, today Belarus’ foreign policy and trade gradually expand eastwards in order to diversify country’s foreign trade and foreign investment flows against the background of the European and U.S. sanctions.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.