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Business forum in Vietnam: New impetus for Belarus' economic growth

President Alexander Lukashenko's is on a state visit to Vietnam. Less than an hour ago, a plane of the Belarusian head of state landed at the international airport in Hanoi. During the visit, the Belarusian leader will hold a series of meetings. He will hold talks with the Vietnamese President, the head of the Communist Party and the Vietnamese Prime Minister. On December 8 Hanoi hosted a business forum where during one day the parties entered into contracts worth about $25 million.

These days in Hanoi are under the Belarusian flag. Since Soviet times, the Republic of Vietnam and Belarus have enjoyed close and friendly relations. Many leaders of Vietnam were educated in Soviet universities. And this is a good base for the expansion of economic relations. And Vietnam could become a bridgehead, which will help Belarus to gain a foothold here in the region.

Today Vietnam is increasingly perceived as a new Asian tiger. The economy of that state is developing at a decent pace - 6% a year. The country has joined the World Trade Organization, attracted investment from global corporations and is actively developing its own industry and agriculture. 

Vietnam is a country of 90 million people. Therefore, the total trade with Belarus, $170 million, is not an impressive figure. Especially in terms of industrial cooperation. A successful example is already in place.

Despite the considerable distance between Belarus and Vietnam, 7,500 kilometers, Belarusian trucks have been assembled in Vietnam since 2009. The next step is the assembling of Belarusian buses and trucks.

There are also plans to assemble trucks in Vietnam. The agreement on the supply of these vehicles was signed at the Belarusian-Vietnamese business forum. It aroused great interest.

In general, Belarus would like to the joint products to enter the ASEAN market. ASEAN includes countries such as Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia.

Vladimir Semashko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
We signed with Vietnam in May 2015 an agreement on free trade area between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union. This is the key to ensure that we enter the ASEAN countries. This market is 500 million people. 

The tractor producer MTZ considers the Vietnamese market promising too. By the way, it is the Belarusian vehicle that is depicted on a banknote of Vietnam. The machinery is important for the agricultural sector. After all, Vietnam is ranked second in the world for the supply of rice and coffee. While in 2014 Belarus sold $1 million worth of tractors, in 2016 it hopes to earn twice as much.

Fedor Domotenko, MTZ director general: 
For the market of Vietnam, we have developed a tractor in the range of 35 to 50 horsepower, which today covers 70% of the total supply of our tractors. Especially for rice cells, we have also developed tractors, tested them in the market of Vietnam, returned to the plant and improved it. These days, we are already supplying these machines to Vietnam.

The Belarusian Potash Company has inked a three-year contract for the supply of fertilizers. Fertilizers are among the main export items of Belarus. Now they are supplied on a duty-free basis.

Elena Kudryavets, General Director of OAO Belarusian Potash Company:
In 2015, we supply to Vietnam about 300,000 tons. We hope that every year these volumes will grow.

Vietnam is rich in minerals. It has deposits of oil and gas. One of the provinces of the country boasts the largest coal deposit in the territory of South-East Asia. There are deposits of iron ore and metals.

Vietnam-based BelAZ Invest Company said that BelAZ machinery is very reliable. The sides signed a contract for the supply of BelAZ-75581 with a carrying capacity of 90 tons. This was the first time Vietnam had received such dump trucks.

Piotr Parkhomchik, director general of BelAZ Holding Company:
This was a dump truck has future on this market. We hope that it will confirm all its technical characteristics, and accordingly, we get real orders for 2016-2017.

Mikhail Myatlikov, Chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce:
We signed 17 contracts and a number of agreements. And if we talk about numbers, today we have already signed contracts worth $24 million.

The business dialogue precedes talks at the highest level. It is planned that on December 9, Alexander Lukashenko will meet with key figures in the leadership of Vietnam. The Asian tour of the Belarusian President will then continue.