China Pledges USD 1.2 Million of Non-returnable Aid to Belarus

A Chinese delegation headed by Long Yongtu, the deputy minister for foreign trade and economic cooperation, will arrive in Minsk today. According to the press service of the Belarussian Foreign Ministry, the purpose of the visit by representatives of Peking is to participate in the work of the fifth meeting of the Belarussian-Chinese commission on trade and economic cooperation. The Belarussian section of the commission is headed by Alexander Kulichkov, the country's economic minister.

A wider sitting of the commission will take place today with the participation of representatives of business circles of the two countries. The sitting is planned to include the signing of letters of exchange on the Chinese Government's pledge to give the Belarussian Government 10 million yuan (around USD 1.2 million) in non-returnable aid.

In addition, according to the Belarussian Interior Ministry's press service, during the visit the two sides are planning to analyse the position of trade and economic cooperation and outline prospects for its future development, look at the question of establishing joint factories in the sphere of machine-building, electronics and telecommunications, and exchange views regarding the Chinese Government's approach to developing foreign trade relations following China's entry into the WTO.

According to the Interior Ministry, trade between Belarus and China was worth USD 142.3 million in the first half of 2002. 51 companies are registered in Belarus with Chinese investment, and 17 companies in China with Belarussian investment.

The Chinese delegation's visit will continue up to September 10.

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