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Russian and Belarusian prime ministers agree Russia-Belarus economic integration is slow

December 13, 2013, 19:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, December 13. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that Russia’s economic integration with Belarus was slow.

“We have had great expectations with regards to several major integration projects, including in energy, the automobile industry, electronics and information sphere,” Medvedev said at a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

“We noted that regrettably progress has been slow though positive results can be achieved in separate spheres,” Medvedev went on to say.

“This is going to happen in a short-term perspective, if we act purposefully and effectively and if we do not think that everything that we have achieved until recently is impeccable and is our best achievement in technological terms. We should be guided by the realities of market economy and think of how to use our industrial potential better,” the Russian prime minister stressed."

Medvedev hopes that the results achieved will serve as foundation for future work in 2014.

The Russian prime minister also warned against dramatization of an 11-percent drop in trade between Russia and Belarus.

“I would not overreact to what has happened. There is an explanation to it. Unfortunately, Belarus and Russia are feeling an impact of negative processes linked to world competition and the situation in world economy,” Medvedev went on to say.

For his part, Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich agreed with the assessment given by his Russian colleague and called for stepping up bilateral trade relations between Belarus and Russia. He said that the bilateral service market was underdeveloped and that was the reason why companies from third countries were entering it.

Myasnikovich said that Russia remained Belarus’s key trade partner while Belarus was only sixth in terms of trade volumes with Russia. He explained that the figure was not bad but that it was necessary to step up bilateral trade exchanges.

He added that in the first nine months of 2013, Russian companies have invested 5 billion 140 million (1 USD is equivalent to 32.9 roubles) while Belarusian companies had invested almost 2 billion dollars in Russia.

Myasnikovich also agreed with Medvedev that the Council of Ministers of the Union State should hold its meetings more often. He recalled that the last meeting had taken place a year before. “I do not think that it is very good,” the Belarusian PM concluded.

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