BELARUS, FRANCE set up joint commission for economic cooperation

An international agreement to set up a joint Belarusian-French intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation was signed in Paris in the presence of Belarusian Vice Prime Minister Piotr Prokopovich and French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Mr Matthias Fekl, BelTA learned from the Belarusian Embassy in France.

On behalf of Belarus the agreement was signed by Belarusian Ambassador to France Pavel Latushko, on behalf of France by Mr. Cyrille Pierre, Director of the Office of the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade.

The commission will be a bilateral body to determine priority areas and promote economic relations between Belarus and France. It will be composed of representatives of ministries and other bodies competent in economic sectors. It was agreed to hold the first meeting of the commission in Minsk as soon as possible.

The embassy informed that Piotr Prokopovich and Matthias Fekl held talks to discuss a wide range of issues regarding the development of the Belarusian-French trade, economic and investment cooperation. The parties agreed to intensify joint efforts to give a new impetus to the development of bilateral economic ties. It was stressed that Belarus and France have not yet fully tapped into the potential of trade and economic relations.

In addition, the parties discussed possible areas of cooperation and the status of implementation of the joint Belarusian-French projects. The parties noted the interest to enhance cooperation in such fields as industry, agriculture, energy, banking, healthcare and tourism.

On 7 October the Eximgarant of Belarus and the French export credit agency Coface are expected to sign an agreement. The document envisages mutual insurance of export/import contracts between economic entities of the two countries. "The first example of such cooperation was the insurance coverage provided by Coface in August 2014 to purchase the tunnel boring machines by the French CSM Bessac for the construction of the third metro line in Minsk," the embassy said.

The parties had an in-depth discussion of the legal framework in the field of economy and investment, including draft agreements on the avoidance of double taxation, promotion and mutual protection of investments, cargo transport, cooperation in the fight against illegal migration, and tourism. The parties also considered the new opportunities that open up for cooperation between Belarus and France with the launch of the Eurasian Economic Union on 1 January 2015.

The headquarters of the MEDEF, the largest organization of France uniting French enterprises, hosted the presentation of the opportunities of trade, economic and investment cooperation with Belarus. The presentation for the business community was held by Vice Prime Minister Piotr Prokopovich. "Participants of the meeting were presented detailed information on the possibilities of development of trade and economic cooperation between Belarus and France, investment projects in Belarus. Particular attention was paid to the new possibilities of cooperation with Belarus in connection with the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union," explained the diplomatic mission. The presentation was attended by Pavel Latushko, Deputy Industry Minister of Belarus Pavel Utiupin, representatives of the Belarus Council of Ministers Office, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, the Eximgarant of Belarus insurance agency and Belarusian business community. On behalf of France the presentation was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of France in Belarus, the leading French companies such as Thales, Michelin, Peugeot-Citroen, Vinci, Rothschild, Oberthur.

At the end of the meeting at MEDEF Piotr Prokopovich held bilateral talks with the representatives of a number of international and French financial institutions and companies to discuss investment and trade cooperation projects. An agreement was reached to organize a visit of a French business delegation to Belarus in 2015 under the auspices of the French MEDEF. Read the full story
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