Belarus, Georgia are expanding cooperation in economy. Report from Tbilisi

Belarus, Georgia are expanding cooperation in economy. Report from Tbilisi

On March 22, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko began visit to Georgia. Recently, serious progress between the countries has been achieved in trade. Just three years after the last visit of the Belarusian leader to Georgia, the trade turnover with it has doubled. Goods marked "Made in Belarus" are in demand on the local market. Now it is about a hundred and fifty positions, but this is only the beginning. The next step is industrial cooperation and the creation of joint ventures. They should become the driver for the growth of cooperation between our countries. This is the subject of negotiations in Tbilisi.

The epicenter of Belarusian-Georgian friendship that day was the Avlabari Palace. This is the official residence of the Georgian counterpart localted in the historical center. By the way, Alexander Lukashenko visited it in April 2015. Back then the official visit of our President took place. The first in modern history. Then the two leaders met personally for the first time.

They signed 15 agreements and a joint statement on the results of the summit talks. Focusing on cooperation the countries started talking about the creation in Belarus of an assembly production of Belarusian elevators, tractors, deliveries of agricultural, municipal equipment, urban passenger transport, and medicines to Georgian partners.

The two presidents are not just colleagues. They are friends. There are many confirmations to this. For example, Alexander Lukashenko and Giorgi Margvelashvili competed in a potato crop. For now the Georgian leader is in second place. He also grew a harvest from Belarusian seeds and boasted it in social networks. On behalf of the Belarusian head of state, our rescuers helped to extinguish forest fires near the city of Borjomi in August 2017. These personal ties do strengthen friendship.

There are no contradictions in politics, but there is something to work on in economy, the two presidents repeated again and again during the meeting in a narrow format. Georgia and Belarus are friendly countries. Georgia is Belarus' promising trading partner in Transcaucasia. While in 2014 the trade amounted to only $65 million, then after the visit of the Belarusian President to Georgia, the growth was 25-30% annually. The goal of $200 million, set in 2015, has not yet been achieved. But the trade is already about $112 million.

Obviously, there is positive dynamism in trade. Recently, the supply of food and agricultural products has grown. In 2017 alone, the growth is almost 3 times. First of all this is due to the opening of a Belarusian shop network in Georgia. There are already 9 such stores in Georgia.

The countries do not simply follow the path of normal commodity exchange, but create scientific centers and joint ventures.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
It is enough to look at the documents that we will sign and it will become clear in which direction we are moving. As an example, I cited the fact that we are not just following the path of commodity exchange operations. Trade is important. But we are starting to create scientific centers. For instance, the scientific center for livestock, on plant growing and potato growing. This is what people need. Without livestock, there can be no agriculture, no meat, no milk.

Cattle should be breeded in Georgia based on scientific research.

We promised to do this, and if you want this, we will definitely do it.

When creating joint ventures for elevators, tractors, vehicles, sophisticated household appliances and any direction I want this to be developing. For this we need people. Since a certain period has been lost for Georgia, and it's not easy for you, the current generation of politicians, let's help train staff.

Belarus and Georgia are actively cooperating in the health sector. Belarusian surgeons successfully performed liver, kidney and heart transplantation for 32 Georgian citizens. In 2018, Belarusian specialists want to participate in the implementation of the Georgian liver transplantation program.

Igor Karpenko, Minister of Education of Belarus:
There are quite serious prospects in education. I think that we have not yet fully used the potential that exists between our countries in the development of education. The fact that only 90 Georgian students study in the Republic of Belarus speaks for itself.

In support of the intentions journalists saw a weighty package of agreements. 11 documents have been signed in agriculture, health care, education, banking, between regions, cities and even libraries in Belarus and Georgia. The presidents of the two countries put their signatures on the documents.

It was a day full of effective negotiations.  Friendship between the two countries is the key to successful trade.

Vladimir Makei, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus:
The meetings that took place say that we have an absolutely full understanding of the further intensification of cooperation in all spheres and areas. Including in the international arena.

After the talks, the eventful program did not end. The two presidents visited a local cognac factory. It was founded in 1884 by a Georgian businessman and philanthropist. It was he who determined the most favorable zones for the cultivation of grapes, suitable for the production of cognac. The factory was the Russian Empire's first industrial production of cognac based on a classical French technology. Today it has world fame. Its products are exported to 20 countries, among which are Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Anastasia Ivannikova, CTV:
These days all the inhabitants of Georgia could feel Belarusian color. Like a few years ago, all the streets are full of Belarusian-Georgian flags. Here guests are welcomed from our country. In addition to negotiations at the highest level, a large-scale business forum was held, during which about 30 documents were signed.

Tourism is another point of contact. Belarusians are very fond of the warm local climate and resorts of Georgia. Cooperation in this area was also announced on March 22 and the sides signed the relevant agreement.

Elena Plis, director of the tourist and information center Minsk:
Health tourism and ecotourism are very popular in Georgia. But we would like to make some progress in medicine.

But this is not all. Among the plans of Belarus and Georgia is the opening of new air routes.