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MINSK, August 6. /TASS/. Belarus plans to export its food products to a sum of six billion U.S. dollars in 2017, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Rusy said on Sunday.
"We expect to reach six billion (U.S. dollars) in terms of exports," he said in an interview with the Stolichnoye Televideniye TV channel.
According to the deputy prime minister, China is one of the promising markets for Belarusian food products. "Chinese businessmen demonstrate interest to our agro-industrial sector,<…> we have managed to certify a rather big number of our companies making dairy and meat products for the Chinese market," he said.
Belarus has already begun exports of poultry, beef and dairy products to China, Rusy said. "A contract has been signed to a sum of 20 million U.S. dollars on beef exports, another contract of poultry exports is being negotiated," he noted, adding that Belarus has launched test exports of its ice-cream to China.
"In general, it is a rather promising sector. If earlier we planned to export about one million worth of products to China, now we can say that exports have already reached 17 million U.S. dollars," the minister said.
In his words, foreign markets show increased demand for Belarusian flour this year. Belarus exported about 100,000 tonnes of flour, including rye flour, in the first six months of 2017.
According to Rusy, Belarusian fruits and vegetables enjoy high demand on foreign markets, including in Russia. "Russia has somewhat changed its style of work with us," he said. "Serious networks, groups of companies possessing big networks demonstrate interest in buying dairy and meat products, as well as fruits and vegetables." Belarus, in his words, has storage facilities enough to ensure round-the-year supplies, which is of interest for network operators.
According to the Belarusian agriculture ministry’s statistics, Belarusian farming exports went up by 17% in the first six months of the current year, to reach 1.23 billion U.S. dollars. Exports to Russia increased by 15%, with Russia accounting for 92% of Belarusian food exports. However Russia’s share in Belarus’ food exports is gradually shrinking as the country is conducting a policy of diversification of its exports.