Who is more important for Minsk – Moscow or Beijing?
Can China vie with Russia for partnership with Belarus?
China is a huge economy with vast resources. And now it seems like situation with “brotherhood integration” with Russia, which can “always cough up couple of billions or sell power resources cheaper”, believes political expert Alexander Klaskovsky.
For Belarusian leaders China seems like a huge locomotive-country, on which Belarusian carriage can be hitched and can pick up higher speed. But the Chinese are known for its pragmatism and don’t philanthropize. They strongly watch over their interests. It reflects the balance of foreign trade. Trade volume of goods and services of Belarus and China passes $4 billion in 2014.
In prospect, by estimate of Belarusian President, there are conditions for increasing of mutual trade in two times. In addition Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on recent meeting with China Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi noticed that there is one little problem for Belarus – negative balance in common trade.
In the course of the visit, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping called official Minsk to raise mutual trade volume considerably, promised to increase import of «quality goods from Belarus». “It’s profitable for the Chinese to sell their goods here in large quantities, but for Belarusian enterprises it’s rather difficult to sell its products in Chinese market, because labor power is cheaper and technologies surpass us in some spheres”, as Alexander Klaskovsky defines the plans of Chinese leader.
In the course of Xi Jinping visit Belarus and China have signed set of credit agreements totaling more 1 USD Billion. “Generally, it’s tied credits –the Chinese give money, provided that Chinese equipment will be installed, Chinese labor force will be involved. Analysts have concerns that China will have more benefits than Belarus”, Alexander Klaskovsky underlines .
Minsk shows that have alternatives.
Who is more important for Belarusian authorities today – Beijing or Moscow, taking into consideration negative trade balance with Russia? “There is no alternate except Russia in energy resources”, the analyst considers.
“Gas is cheap, Belarusian oil refineries processes oil. Even with cutting the margin, oil products are sold with profit in Europe and it brings currency in treasury. Russia is still the first in foreign trade relationships”, Alexander Klaskovsky concluded.
The expert reminds that Russia exhibits some jealousy towards China. Russian ambassador Aleksandr Syrikov expressed Moscow disapproval of setting up production of Chinese passenger cars Geely in Borisov. Cooperation of Belarus and China in military sector is also a point of Moscow tension, according to political expert, because it is referred to military secrets, and competition in military industrial committee. Potassium contract is of great significance. There is a hope that impetus will be given to development of China-Belarus Industrial Park, – predicts the expert. The visit of Xi Jinping also has a great promotion importance. He sends message to Chinese investors (actually in China exists high degree of authority orientation) that they can and should invest money in Belarus. And This is a hope for inflow of Chinese investments, noted Alexander Klaskovsky. Also it indicates that Belarus has active foreign police contacts. It’s demonstration for Moscow and Europe, of one of the play element on multi-vector nature, when official Minsk shows that has fall backs and there is no need to press on it.
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