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Gennady Chizhikov: Ukraine and Belarus should be closer together

Economic aspects, the attractiveness of Belarusian goods, Ukrainian interests... This is what head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine Gennady Chizhikov told our channel in an interview.

Mr Chizhikov, a business forum was held during the visit of Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko. Already all the media are making a noise that it was a success. How do you assess this?

Gennady Chizhikov, head of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
I would like to say that in recent years this is probably the largest economic event between our countries. One can only imagine: more than 100 Belarusian enterprises came to Kiev, huge interest from the Ukrainian side... More than 300 Ukrainian enterprises showed great interest in meetings with their partners to discuss topical issues. This, of course, can be assessed as a very important and positive step.

How do you think are Belarusian businessmen active in the Ukrainian market?

Gennady Chizhikov:
You know, we sometimes even think that Belarusians are too active. This is a good feature and we should strive to have it too. We see Belarus is promoting its interests and goods. There is nothing bad about that. Competition always gives better goods and services. For us Belarus is a quality sign, so to say. Recently our companies have been cooperating in machine building, oil processing. Light industry and foodstuffs are also popular in Ukraine. Belarus is well represented in Ukraine overall. I hope Ukraine does the same in Belarus. This forum is to see the possibilities for the development of our economic relations.

What positive experience could Ukraine use?

Gennady Chizhikov:
Among the practices Ukraine could borrow is state regulation of export. Many say this is not good but the results speak for themselves quite well.

Belarus and Ukraine should pay more attention to areas where they could work together. These cooperation issues were somehow forgotten a bit. Ukrainian kits and machine building goods could complement Belarusian products. We could complement each other and enter third markets.

The trade turnover figures show that we have huge potential in our development. If we look at figures we can say that during the peak of our relations, in 2012, our trade turnover was about 7.8 billion dollars. This is according to Ukraine. In 2016 it was twice as low and was only $3.8 billion.

So what do you think should be done in order to return to that level?

Gennady Chizhikov:
Conclusions. You know, this year (we have analyzed it), in just three months the trade turnover increased significantly. The export of Ukrainian goods has grown by as much as 59%, and the export of Belarusian goods to our country by 23%. That is, it means that business cannot be stopped, business will always seek opportunities for cooperation. We are neighboring countries and we are fraternal countries. We should always look for opportunities for exchange, for finding new opportunities.

What Belarusian food do you have on your table?

Gennady Chizhikov:
Ukraine is well familiar with dairy products, they know well what Belarusian bread is, what Belarusian cheese is. But I think that there are opportunities for further development, for further opportunities. Ukrainians love, because for many of our customers, Belarusian means high quality.

Gennady Chizhikov: Ukraine and Belarus should be closer together