11 Feb 2020 19:55

Lukashenko orders new Belarusian ambassador to enhance cooperation with China

MINSK. Feb 11 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has instructed newly appointed Belarusian Ambassador to China Nikolai Snopkov to maintain and develop the existing level of Belarusian-Chinese cooperation, despite the difficulties caused by coronavirus.

"As you can see, they're going through difficult times, and it's not just about coronavirus. The world has had even more difficult times. The thing is, that in light of this coronavirus, fake news is beginning to be planted in the media," the presidential press service cited Lukashenko as saying at a meeting with Snopkov on Tuesday.

"Belarus remains among China's important partners, and the current high level of cooperation must be maintained and developed," Lukashenko said.

"The Chinese must know that Belarusians are strong-willed and reliable people, as well as true friends," he said.

Snopkov, in turn, told journalists that increasing exports and reducing unnecessary mediators in imports will be among his priority tasks.

"We are an export-oriented country. China is an inexhaustible growing market. Its capacity in the medium term is $10 trillion. My task is substantively elaborating on this track while in office. Elaborating on what we can supply to the Chinese market, and most importantly, how to do that in light of the existing trade and customs hindrances and insufficient production output to supply goods in demand on the Chinese market," the state news agency BelTA cited Snopkov as saying.

The new ambassador also sees a need for a more rational approach to supplies from China.

"Reasonable import is important, especially when it comes to intermediate goods, as they are considerably cost-effective in comparison to similar intermediate goods of the same quality supplied from the Russian Federation and the European Union. For instance, according to the Economy Ministry's estimate, such savings reach about $400 billion a year. It ensures an increase of value added and an increase of GDP," he said.

Such increase is caused, among other things, by a growing number of joint Chinese-Belarusian enterprises, Snopkov said. "It's a good, correct track when we do joint business. It is always long-term cooperation," he said.

However, while doing this, it is important to avoid mediation in the cases when it is rational and possible, Snopkov said. "There are certain items whose supplies are impossible to be conducted directly from manufacturers, because many corporate practices by manufacturers do not envisage direct work, only through mediation. But there's a difference between one mediator and five," he said.

As reported, Snopkov, former deputy head of the presidential administration, was appointed Belarusian ambassador to China on January 30.

Lukashenko said in commenting on his appointment that "we have no other choice." Nikolai Gennadiyevhich has excellent relations with the leadership of the People's Republic of China. Everyone knows him, starting from Xi Jinping to officials at the Foreign Ministry," Lukashenko said. He also said he expects "a true breakthrough" in relations with China.