Investments in the banking sector and the development of the industrial park "Great Stone" were the major topics discussed on April 18 between Belarus and China at the Palace of Independence in Minsk. There, Alexander Lukashenko met with Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
The Belarusian head of state noted a high level of the bilateral political relations. The countries are strategic partners, and the economic side of the relations must follow suit.
The sides bet not only on the Chinese-Belarusian industrial park. Both sides are sure that other equally large-scale joint projects will follow the construction of Great Stone.
The logistics company, a manufacturer of supercapacitors, including for Belarusian electric buses, communication technologies, drones and laser developments - all this is planned in the industrial park. Preferences and benefits for investors are guaranteed.
Business representatives of any country, not only China, can apply for membership in the industrial park Great Stone.
By 2020, Belarus and China want to attract about 50 residents to the park. The common Belarusian-Chinese plans are far-reaching and ambitious. So the regular exchange of delegations - of very different levels and perspectives - is a common thing. Just last week Minsk welcomed the Minister of Public Security of the People's Republic of China, representatives of Hunan Province. And on April 18, Minsk was visited by the head of the National People's Congress.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
I want to draw your attention to one essential thing. Visiting Great Stone, the PRC President called this place the pearl of the Silk Road. We cannot together with you create enterprises and economies of the past.
It is necessary to attract there the most advanced world-class companies with the economy of tomorrow.
Otherwise, enterprises will not be able to compete in European markets and markets of the post-Soviet space. When discussing these issues in the People's Republic of China, I would ask you to first of all take into account the fact that there must be exclusively high-tech enterprises in the Great Stone.
Secondly, I am very worried, and you probably noticed this, about the imbalance of our bilateral trade.
I would very much like you to pay close attention to that: in the framework of the work of the Belarusian-Chinese intergovernmental committee on cooperation, and at the level of the heads of government of the two countries and the parliamentarians.
Chinese partners are ready to solve all the issues that arise. The Chinese market is open for Belarusian products. So trade may be balanced in the future. The sides also discussed today the prospects of the financial sector. China CITIC Bank International is preparing to come to Belarus. It is one of the ten largest in China and is a subdivision of CITIC Group. CITIC Group's company head, by the way, visited Belarus in 2016. So this bank works with international businesses and is represented already in 130 countries occupying very attractive positions in the Forbes rating.
Belarus also expects to place its bonds on the Chinese financial market.
The necessary procedures for this must be completed in the People's Bank of China. The political relations between Belarus and China are the most sincere and friendly, but these political relations should entail closer economic cooperation.
Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress:
Cooperation between Belarus and China is rapidly developing in all areas and has acquired all the features of mature interstate relations. This is a solid political basis, integrated economic interests, active and dynamic humanitarian ties, as well as close cooperation in the international arena. We are interested in continuing contacts at various levels.
In addition, China will always support Belarus' desire for political and social stability and economic growth.
Alexander Lukashenko is going to visit China in May 2017. Next month, the international economic forum "One belt, one way" will be held in Beijing, where regional integration will be the central topic. Over three years of the existence of the economic belt of the Silk Road investments in its projects exceeded $50 billion.
Investments in the framework of the Belarusian-Chinese cooperation were discussed on April 18 too. Currently, more than 30 projects are being implemented in Belarus, which are financed by Chinese banks, as well as by the Chinese government. The total amount of investment is about $6 billion. Of course, this is not the limit.
Andrei Kobyakov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
We propose to discuss a number of economic issues. For us, this is especially important on the eve of the visit of the President of the Republic of Belarus to China. We expect that during the forthcoming visit, a number of practical directions of our cooperation with China will be deepened and furthered.
The Chinese delegation did not forget about the cultural program either. In the Palace of Independence, the Chinese parliamentarians admired the pictures of Valery Shkarubo and visited the National Art Museum.