Chairman of the Council of the Republic of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich met with Mark Hauptmann, Chairman of the German-Belarusian Parliamentary Friendship Group, member of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy of the German Bundestag, in Minsk on 21 June.
Mikhail Myasnikovich said that bilateral relations have been developing well, yet their potential is much greater.
He outlined the reserves the parties can tap into. “The parliaments should give positive signals to business to spur the development of industrial cooperation in various forms,” he said. Today Belarus is home to about 300 enterprises with the German capital. However, there are not many large companies among them.
At the same time, the Belarusian-German cooperation, including investment cooperation, has been gaining momentum, Mark Hauptmann said. “We want investments to increase,” he said. The German side would like “to facilitate the movement of Belarusian companies in terms of export, in terms of access to the European market,” he said.
The parties also discussed the participation of Belarus and Germany in China’s Belt and Road initiative. Mikhail Myasnikovich drew attention to the proximity of views on this issue.
The project involves the world’s largest inland port in Duisburg which is operated by the German company Duisburger Hafen, one of the shareholders of the Industrial Park Development Company (management company of the China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone).
Germany expects trade flows to go through Belarus. According to Mikhail Myasnikovich, interregional cooperation is another promising area for interaction. “We could bolster ties at the regional level between Belarus and Germany,” the chairman of the Council of the Republic said.
The parties talked over the intensification of inter-parliamentary contacts, which can serve as a positive signal for business. The parties also discussed cooperation in youth affairs. Mikhail Myasnikovich suggested expanding student and scientific exchanges. Mark Hauptmann shares Mikhail Myasnikovich’s idea to intensify interregional and youth cooperation. He believes that there are a lot of sectors where Belarus and Germany can deepen their cooperation.
These include IT where Germany would like to expand its cooperation with Belarus’ Hi-Tech Park. “Outsourcing and the transfer of orders are possible as there is necessary infrastructure and highly-qualified specialists,” he said. Germany is one of Belarus’ leading trading partners. In 2018, Germany ranked fifth in trade which totalled $3.3 billion (up 16% year-on-year).
In January-April 2019, mutual trade reached $975.2 million. Germany makes it to the top five investors in the Belarusian economy. In 2018, the country raised $363.7 million in German investment (including $113.7 million in FDI, $66.1 million in net investment). In January-March 2019, German investment in the Belarusian economy totalled $47.8 million, including $45.4 million in bet investment and $37.4 million in FDI.