13 November 2019
The President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko and the Chairman of the National Council of the Republic of Austria Wolfgang Sobotka took part in the Austria-Belarus business forum in Vienna, organized by the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Austrian Chamber of Economy.
Apart from important business matters the Head of State spoke candidly about a number of topical world problems and geopolitical issues.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated: "I think meetings in this format have been long overdue. The private sector of our countries expects clear political signals demonstrating the readiness of Minsk and Vienna to make the bilateral relations long-term ones. The purpose of my official visit to the capital of Austria is to confirm Minsk's interest in building solid ties not only with European politicians but with the private sector as well."
The President of the Republic of Belarus stressed that Belarus and Austria have a huge untapped potential. He described the bilateral trade in the vicinity of $200 million as nothing but a shameful fact. Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the meeting with representatives of the private sector will be a good incentive for expanding horizons of business activity between Belarus and Austria. He stated that the two countries have a lot in common and have a good foundation for advancing cooperation in various spheres.
Participating in the forum were the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Turchyn, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Andrei Khudyk, the Minister of Finance Maxim Yermolovich, the Minister of Economy Dmitry Krutoy, the Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Vladimir Gusakov, the BelCCI Chairman Vladimir Ulakhovich, the Vice President of the Austrian Chamber of Economy Richard Schenz, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Austria Alena Kupchyna, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Austria to Belarus Aloisia Worgetter, the Director General for Foreign Economic Relations of the Federal Ministry of Digitalization and Economic Policy Franz Wessig, the head of the Commercial Department of the Embassy of the Republic of Austria in the Russian Federation Rudolf Lukawski, heads of large financial institutions, consulting agencies, transport and logistics, IT companies of the two countries, more than 250 representatives of the business communities of Belarus and Austria.
The BelCCI Chairman noted that the Belarusian-Austrian business forum had caused a lot of interest among Austrian partners; they even went as far as saying it was a historical event. "The sides were discussing a number of new topics and avenues of cooperation. Simple trade doesn't hold a lot of promise. This is why working out strategic priorities in our economic interaction will be the idea. Those include logistics, green energy, woodworking, and information technology. We need to work on them, flesh them out with concrete projects and promote them," Vladimir Ulakhovich said.
The forum addressed the topical issues of bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation, the presentations of the business climate in Belarus, the instruments offered by the finance and insurance companies, successful Belarus-Austria projects were delivered.
In the presence of the high guests, bilateral documents and business agreements in various fields were signed.
The forum started from a business matchmaking session. The businessmen of Belarus and Austria negotiated possible cooperation in the fields of consulting, woodworking, insurance and finance, information technologies, ecological engineering, metallurgy, exchange trade, food production, and others.
Based on BelTA