The co-chairs of the HLG reviewed the progress of the efforts to strengthen trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Belarus
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Alexei Overchuk, and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Russian Federation Dmitry Krutoi, who has the authority of Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus, co-chaired a meeting of the High-Level Group of the Council of Ministers of the Union State of Russia and Belarus. The event took place in the city of Mogilyov, Republic of Belarus, and included State Secretary of the Union State Dmitry Mezentsev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Belarus Boris Gryzlov, and representatives of relevant ministries and departments of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.
The co-chairs of the High-Level Group reviewed the progress of the effort to strengthen trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Belarus, paying special attention to ensuring the digital sovereignty of the Union State, the development of aviation links, including between Belarus and the Russian Far East, the equalisation of railway tariffs, developing the Union State’s budget and other issues requiring joint solutions.
“Today, the close neighbourly relations between Russia and Belarus are an example of strategic partnership relations and are distinguished by mutual respect, trust, sincerity, the desire to support each other in difficult times, mutual understanding and a constructive approach to building multifaceted ties,” said Alexei Overchuk at the beginning of his speech.
The two countries continue to follow the path of promoting trade and economic cooperation. At the end of 2022, mutual trade between Russia and Belarus increased by 13 percent to 3.5 trillion Russian roubles. Exports and imports are balanced; Russian exports and imports totalled 1.7 and 1.8 trillion roubles, respectively. This year the growth trend continues. For the first seven months of 2023, foreign trade reached 2.5 trillion Russian roubles, which is 9.9 percent higher than in the same period in 2022, and Russian exports and imports were 1.2 and 1.3 trillion roubles, respectively.
The Deputy Prime Minister stressed that it is necessary to develop joint economic projects aimed primarily at strengthening economic independence, and in general to ramp up cooperation in the economic and humanitarian spheres. “Over the past two years, we have made significant progress in implementing the 28 union programmes. Our task here is to ensure the closest possible economic connectivity between our countries and make the ‘two countries – one economy’ formula a reality. However, this structure will be much more resilient if we continue to make stronger the humanitarian component of the Union State together,” Alexei Overchuk said.
The Deputy Prime Minister also spoke about the progress of joint work on the draft guidelines for the implementation of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State for 2024 to 2026, saying, “Soon we expect the document to be agreed on, approved by the Council of Ministers of the Union State and endorsed by resolution of the Supreme State Council. Thus, our work to develop and strengthen the Union State will continue in the interests of our countries and peoples.”
To conclude his speech, Alexei Overchuk thanked Dmitry Krutoi for his participation in the strategic session chaired by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on 26 September 2023 which was dedicated to the development of cultural and humanitarian ties in the Union State, stressing that this format of participation marks a new level of trust and openness between the peoples of Russia and Belarus.
The meeting participants also reviewed the fulfilment of protocol decisions adopted earlier by the Union State. They went on with routine efforts to prepare for the next meetings of the Council of Ministers and Supreme State Council of the Union State.
Following the meeting, the Standing Committee of the Union State was instructed to ensure the coordinated efforts to implement the agreements reached.