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 could to step up the opposition representation in local councils, should party members demonstrate potency. The Belarusian leadership is unlikely to have the resources to ensure 100 percent pro-government candidates in the local elections. The authorities have exhausted the grassroot support and have no funds to pay for the loyalty.
The Belarusian Central Election Commission has proposed to hold the elections to the local Councils of Deputies on February 18th, 2018.
The president has repeatedly emphasised the importance of the local councils in the power system and the state machine always tried to ensure the necessary local election results. Candidates have been decreasing in number with each elections and the authorities dealt with that by reducing the deputy corps. That said, during the rule of President Lukashenka, his electoral base has changed substantially. Over the past decade, most Belarusians have moved to cities and lost their local roots. The rural population is ready to support the president, but rural residents are constantly decreasing in number.
The Belarusian leadership is likely to permit broad participation in the election campaign and an increase in alternative representatives in the local councils. However, the opposition would have to boost its activity, so as so far it has been passive in defending its interests. In addition, the authorities, while determining the date for the local elections, have taken into account the fact that the opposition is usually the least active in the winter time.
Overall, both, the opposition and the local authorities have exhausted their grassroot support, however new local leaders may still come on political stage, although the party opposition has not yet shown sufficient aspirations.