In 2016, Belarusians worked hard on foreign markets, defending national interests around the globe. For example, the powerful China has included Belarus in the four closest strategic partners.
The Egyptian market is very promising for Belarus, as well as the market of the Arab world. For example, Egyptians need Belarus' help in the development of freshwater sources. In the past 2016, the Arab world not just opened its doors to Belarus but welcomed Belarus very hospitably. We are talking about Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha in particular.
In politics, a personal relationship is a fundamental factor. First of all, Arab emirs evaluate any contact in monetary terms. Here, the prospects for Belarus are inexhaustible.
Belarusian export to the Emirates in the last few years has increased almost three times. The Emirates are interested in the advantageous geographical position of Belarus. Our country is part of the Eurasian Economic Union, which means access to the single market of several countries, including Russia and Kazakhstan. A new logistics center with Arab investments may appear near the town of Orsha.
Sergei Kizima, Doctor of Political Sciences:
Belarus is attractive for these countries, including as a high-tech country. Our High-Tech Park is very well known. Besides, Belarusian arms exports are attractive in terms of high technologies. An investment fund of Qatar may buy Eurobonds of Belarus in 2017.
Belarusian-Chinese cooperation year was not just a productive, it was a breakthrough. The Celestial named Belarus a strategic partner. The description of relations between Belarus and China now includes four words: trust, comprehensive, strategic and mutually beneficial. By the way, until that time, the Chinese top list included only three countries: Great Britain, Russia and Pakistan.
Belarusian-Chinese friendship is also impressive in foreign currency equivalent: $11 billion is the total amount of potential contracts to be implemented. Belarusian birch sap, dairy and even furniture will be mastering The Silk Route in the years to come.
Leonid Zayats, Agriculture and Food Minister of Belarus:
34 enterprises of the dairy industry will make deliveries to China and four slaughterhouses of our republic were tested too. It is expected that in Q1 2017, the People's Republic will decide on beef supplies from Belarus.
Pakistan is the gateway to Silk Route. Belarus seriously strengthened its positions here in 2016. Belarus actually "rediscovered" the Islamic Republic two years ago. On closer inspection it turned out that Pakistan for Belarus is an absolutely new market numbering 200 million people - more than all EU countries combined.
Pakistan's economy over the past few years has made a qualitative leap and now has the potential to become one of the largest in the 21st century. The potential is estimated at millions of dollars.
Vladimir Ulakhovich, Chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce:
Pakistan is one of the very interesting stories that have been implemented in recent years. And, of course, we must go there with our capabilities, with our machinery. We signed contracts for the supply of Belarusian products worth $56 million.
Countries in Africa are an almost unexplored export market for Belarus. Among the goods that Belarus can offer in Africa is automobiles, tractors, agricultural machinery; petrochemical products, tires, fiber and fertilizers.
Valery Borodenya, MP of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus:
We worked very intensively to achieve export diversification, which is our main task. This task is very difficult. I think we have been quite successful along this road. It is unlikely that this road will be easy, because competition everywhere is very tough. It rarely happens according to rules, most often it is all on the brink of a foul. But we, too, must learn to act firmly, defending our own interests. I think we have these opportunities.
Belarus participated in the summits of the CSTO and the SCO. It discussed integration in the CIS in Bishkek and the Eurasian Economic Union integration in Astana. In foreign policy, Belarus relies on an open and constructive dialogue in which integrity and flexibility are the main components. The country has proven its ability to establish mutually beneficial dialogue with everyone.