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Christian Bach: economic policy of your country creates more opportunities for business

The program Week met the main person of the Economic Commission for Europe, Executive Secretary to learn more about the possible projects and why integration is becoming a sign of new times.

Mr. Bach, today I’ve seen the announcement of the conference on the ECE official page on social networks. You’ve chosen a photo of Bolshoi Theatre. Have your acquaintance with Belarus started with the Bolshoi Theatre?

Christian Friis Bach, UN Under Secretary General, Executive Secretary of UN Economic Commission for Europe:
Yes, we are really discovering Minsk and Belarus as a centre for dialogue. Now Minsk is famous for the initiatives undertaken by your President , Prime-minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs as a centre for dialogue between West and East. Nowadays, when many countries build the walls , new bridges are being built in Minsk for strengthening cooperation and economic integration in the region.

Many people cannot fully realize how the ECE influences our daily lives: from buying apples in a supermarket to seatbelts in a car.

Christian Friis Bach:
You really get in touch with our organization when you buy apples in a shop or cross the borders for example. The Economic Commission for Europe has developed all these common norms and standards of quality and safety in the sphere of trade, energy, customs cooperation and many others. Here in Minsk I’ve noticed that there’s a desire to work together and not compete with one another.

Does Belarus meet the international standards? Did you have an opportunity to taste our products?                                          

Christian Friis Bach:
I’ve been here the third time for this year. I’m impressed by hospitality, tasty food and talented people. It’s honor for me to be here. I’m also very impressed by the aspiration of your government to enter into dialogue in these difficult times.

For the last time Minsk has stablished itself as a stable calm place. Do you feel this?

Christian Friis Bach:
I feel safe and people are very friendly here. I’m glad to cooperate with Belarus in trade, transport, energy, green economy. We help each other to implement and develop these international norms and standards.

We are trying to develop green economy. How successful are we?

Christian Friis Bach:
We are glad to see how seriously Belarus implements the principles of green economy. There are great opportunities for co-development in this area.

Are there any difficulties for the access of Belarusian products to the European market?

Christian Friis Bach:
There are still many difficulties such as customs duties, bureaucracy, manifold documents. Belarus has done much to improve business climate. The economic policy of your country creates more opportunities for business. We are glad to see the progress.

Are Belarusian goods much in demand in Europe?

Christian Friis Bach:
Belarusian goods are much in demand not only in Europe but in the whole world. Many of them definitely meet international standards. For example agricultural products can obviously occupy a niche on the European market.

By the way you have an academic degree in agriculture. How can you estimate the achievements of  Belarus in agriculture ?

Christian Friis Bach:
I’m a farmer and economist. I can say that in agriculture sector Belarus has many opportunities for making products that would be in demand abroad.

You’ve been in Belarus three times and formed your own opinion about our country. Would you advise investors to come and work here?

Christian Friis Bach:
According to the international rating Doing Business Belarus has increased its positions thanks to its economic policies and development of public-private partnerships. You are young and can be an example for other countries.

You travel all over the world and have already spent a lot of time in Belarus. Maybe next time you’ll visit some other places besides business meetings?

Christian Friis Bach:
I’d love to visit rural areas of Belarus. I always feel at home here. I hope one day I’ll come here with my wife and children and show them the beauty of your country.

Christian Friis Bach, UN Under Secretary General, Executive Secretary of UN Economic Commission for Europe