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Belarus president instructs government to diversify export

State authorities have all leverages for Belarusian enterprises to stay competitive, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said

MINSK, December 29. /TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko believes that one of the top priorities for the government is to diversify export in current conditions.

“No one will provide very comfortable conditions for us. To promote our produce successfully, its prime cost should be reduced, quality should be increased and new sales markets should be sought and found,” he said, introducing Andrey Kobyakov as new Belarusian prime minister.

No one can depend on “one or one and a half market,” he said. “Surely, Russia is our brothers, our friends, but we witness how they behave sometimes: one does one thing, the second one does not know what the first one does. Therefore, we should diversify compulsorily whatever the cost,” the president said.

However, he noted that diversification did not mean a withdrawal from Russian market anyway. “But it is needed to work there much more effectively and take niches of goods becoming vacant more vigorously. And the priority task of the government is to support exporters,” the head of state said.

State authorities have all leverages for Belarusian enterprises to stay competitive, he said.

Conflict of interests with Russia

Lukashenko said Monday Belarus will have disputes with Russia over a conflict of interests of producers.

Lukashenko shared with journalists details of talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on supplies of Belarusian products. He said the conversation was tough but businesslike.

“This is not the first such discussion. It does not mean we have antagonism. We are just friends, and we can openly tell each other what worries us,” he said.

Lukashenko said “it is probably impossible that this will not repeat.” “It may only be in a fairytale that we will have no more disputes in the future,” he said.

The Belarusian leader expressed the view that Russian producers cannot compete with Belarusian ones in terms of quality, price or organization. “That’s why they use such administrative… methods. We are ready for that,” he said.

Eurasian Economic Union

Lukashenko touched upon the issue of the union state of Russia and Belarus, saying its format has not exhausted itself.

“May God let us achieve, in the Eurasian Economic Union, the depth of integration that we have with the Russian Federation,” he said.

The new integration association — the Eurasian Economic Union — will start operating on January 1, 2015. Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia make part of the EEU.

Thus, the largest association with a consumer market of over 170 million people will go operational in a few days on the post-Soviet space. It will function on the basis of the World Trade Organization’s norms and principles and will ensure freedom of movement of goods, services, capitals and labor force.

Kyrgyzstan will join the EEU on May 1, 2015. Armenia, which has ratified all required documents, will become a full-fledged member from January 2.

The EEU will replace the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC).