Belarus-China trade soars 100 times over 20 years
18 April 2012
MINSK (BelTA) – Since Belarus and China established diplomatic relations 20 years ago, the bilateral trade has risen more than 100 times, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Belarus Gong Jianwei said on 18 April at a seminar dedicated to the 20th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, BelTA has learnt.
The ambassador said that the business cooperation between Belarus and China is complementary and mutually beneficial. China has become Belarus’ fourth biggest trading partner and the biggest one in Asia. During the first period of the diplomatic relations, the bilateral trade made merely $34 million, while in 2011 it exceeded $3 billion. “It means that our trade has increased more than 100 times over the 20 years,” Gong Jianwei said.
In his words, cooperation in investments and finances has been demonstrating sustainable growth. Since 2009 China has provided the Belarusian government with $2 billion worth of soft loans, which allowed implementing a number of important projects. The projects extended to road and housing construction, communications, power engineering, chemical industry, space, etc.
The diplomat emphasized that Belarus and China have developed a high level of political trust. The two countries abide by the principles of peaceful coexistence and international laws. The Chinese government respects domestic and foreign policy pursued by the Belarusian government and people. Belarus, in turn, strongly supports the domestic and foreign policy of China, China’s efforts to preserve the national and political integrity and maintain the world peace.
“The dynamic expansion of humanitarian and public contacts has laid a solid social foundation for cultivating friendly ties,” the ambassador said. According to statistics, the number of Belarusians visiting China for business or tourist purposes exceeds 30,000 people a year. The number of Chinese students at Belarusian universities makes more than 2,000 people; over 100 Belarusians study in China. The intergovernmental agreement on academic cooperation provides for arranging mutual visits of rectors of the two countries.
There are two Confucius Institutes in Belarus offering Chine language courses and country studies. All the oblasts of Belarus have schools teaching the Chinese language.
The Chinese ambassador noted that there are over ten Belarus-China twin-towns and twin-regions, like Minsk-Beijing, Brest Oblast- Hubei Province, Vitebsk Oblast- Heilongjiang Province, Grodno Oblast- Gansu Province, Mogilev Oblast-Henan Province and Jiangsu Province, Minsk Oblast- Chongqing, Mogilev-Luoyang, Vitebsk-Harbin, etc.
“Belarus and China have been cultivating ties for 20 years and the cooperation keeps growing stronger despite the changing international environment,” the Chinese ambassador concluded.