Germany Is Not Letting Belarus’ Small Downturns Put it off Looking for Investment Opportunities

emerging europe belarus outlook ebrd

Read the Outlook on Belarus special report

.

German companies are becoming increasingly more interested in seeking business opportunities in Belarus. Multiple conferences, bilateral meetings and trade missions organised in both countries are proving that point.

Peter Dettmar, German Ambassador to Belarus, spoke to Andrew Wrobel about the prospects for economic, societal, scientific and environmental collaboration between Europe’s largest economy and Belarus.

The European Union is resuming the dialogue on trade affairs with Belarus. How do you see the trading potential between Belarus and the EU, and Germany, as the largest economy in the club?

The potential for trade between Belarus and Germany is high and far from being exhausted. At the last meeting of our bilateral, high level working group on trade and investment, which took place on the 13 October in Minsk, both sides underlined their mutual interest in boosting trade relations. A couple of days before that,  we held a “Day of the Belarusian Economy” working group in Hamburg; it was  an event that significantly contributed to raising interest in business and trade with Belarus and also in promoting
contact between German and Belarusian stakeholders.

fotodettmar
Peter Dettmar (courtesy of the German Embassy to Minsk)


Unfortunately, the trade volume between our two countries has decreased considerably over the last 18 months. This is due, to a large extent, to the fact that the Belarusian economy has slowed down as a result of low prices of oil, oil products and potash fertilisers. In addition, imports from Germany have decreased as a consequence of the devaluation of the Belarusian rouble and a reduction in capital investment and consumer demand. In addition, a number of regulations concerning access to the Belarusian market are not favourable for German exporters. 

Regardless of this, two more business delegations from Germany will come to Belarus before the end of the year. I hope that all the delegates will have fruitful discussions with their Belarusian counterparts on how to promote trade and investment. Furthermore I believe that Belarus can do more to promote its economy and the competitiveness of its products in Germany. 

In February 2016, the EU lifted most of the sanctions against Belarus. You said that soon after that Belarus and Germany reached a new stage in their bilateral relations. How should that new stage be translated into practice and which areas offer opportunities, apart from trade?

I think that a lot has been achieved already. Just to give you some examples: a delegation from the German Bundestag visited Minsk in early October; the political foundations, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung have carried out several projects in Belarus; a delegation of the youth organisation of the German Christian Democratic Party (the CDU) visited Minsk; the German Foundation on International Legal Cooperation has started seminars on a legal and judicial reform; we held the “5th Belarusian-German Energy Forum” on renewable energy and energy efficiency; and finally, we conducted talks about intensifying German language training at Belarusian schools. 

Apart from trade, investment and the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises, I hope that we can also extend our bilateral cooperation into the areas of science and technology, the environment and climate protection. I am convinced that we have successfully started intensifying our cooperation within a wide range of fields and I am convinced that we will continue to do so.

You have been working in Belarus for quite a while. How do you see the country developing, as well as opening up to Western Europe?

After two years of absence from Belarus I returned to Minsk in September, last year. I definitely perceive more openness, today, from political interlocutors towards the West in general and the EU in particular. 

During the past months numerous meetings on a huge variety of topics have taken place, at different levels, between Belarus and the EU and Belarus and Germany. In comparison to my previous stay here I also notice more openness to discussing difficult subject matters such as the promotion of human rights, the rule of law and democratisation. This dialogue, and the exchange between the two sides, needs time and we still have a way ahead of us I order to gain a common understanding. However, we should and must continue this dialogue.

Each country has its own history, culture, traditions and experiences — what do you think Germany could teach Belarus and what could Belarus teach Germany?

We should not try to lecture each other. Perhaps we should listen to each other more carefully in order to develop a better mutual understanding.

RELATED ARTICLES

Long-time Neighbours Need to Share Awareness, Plus Trade & Investment

The Belarusian Banking Sector Moving Towards Modernisation Despite Some Challenges

The Eurasian Economic Union Fails to Bring Belarus Closer to Big Brother

Brexit Makes Waves Across the European Union and Beyond

Belarus Has To Make an Extra Effort To Change Investors’ Perceptions

A New Modern Mall Hopes to Draw Belarusians Back to the Home Market

RRY Capital

Belarus Steps Up Liberalisation of Business

belarus

From Denmark to Belarus — A Personal Experience of Business

Smart, reliable and promising

The Reality Is More Interesting Than the Misconceptions

Belarus Has Set an Example for Others to Follow

The Next Four Months Crucial For the Belarus-EU Relations

Emerging Europe Makes Some Progress on Closing Gender Gap

world economic forum gender gap report

While the EU Makes Plans for CEE China Makes Investments

Nuclear Security Summit In Washington, 2016

IMF Believes State-Owned Enterprises Must Be Reformed

Image of the banknotes of new Belarusian banknotes five rubles put into circulation July 1 2016

Emerging Europe and the EBRD host the Outlook on Belarus conference in London

The Shopping Experience Is Set To Go Global in Belarus from 2017 Onwards

The EU’s Benign Neglect of Eastern Europe

Will European Business and Institutions Bolster the New Trends That Have Appeared in Belarus?

Invest in Belarus: looking beyond politics to the future

The Belarusian real estate market is on the up

Emerging Europe Live: Life in Belarus As Seen by Foreigners

A Strategic Asset for Regional Growth and Development in the EU

Pier bridge crane and cargo handling cargo trains transported away.

World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016 Resume For Emerging Europe

EBRD Transition Report Highlights Financial Sector Resilience

Baku

Belarus Is Making the First Steps onto the International Finance Floor

High-Tech Park in Minsk is growing rapidly

Georgia Leads Emerging Europe in Ease of Doing Business Report

Winds of Change for Belarus’ Reinsurance Industry?

EY: Belarus’ IT Scene Is Thriving

High tech park minsk

The essence of the Customs Union is protectionism

The Proof of a Country’s Readiness to Attract Foreign Investors Lies in the Development of the Insurance Market

Putin Urges Belarus to End Oil Transit Through Lithuania

Athens Greece - May 27 2016: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers

Innovation Brings Great Opportunities to the Belarusian Economy

Belarusian Journalists Still Face Huge Problems

Why Was Zapad-2017 So Important?

russian tank belarus zapad

Why Is Belarus Tech Booming?

Emerging Europe Live: CEE — The Outsourcing Destination

The Belarusian Economy: The Challenges of Stalled Reforms

HTP: Belarus’ Engineers Are Leading a Cool Revolution

Serbia, Belarus and Ukraine Ranked Lowly by Wharton Business School

Kyiv Ukraine - April 172017: The postal square in Kiev on Podol the Dnipro river. view of the square from the river panorama

EBRD Emerging Europe Outlook on Belarus 2016

‘No’ To a Monetary Union With Russia

Germany and Belarus: Thinking Globally Acting Locally

Business Opportunities in Belarus Encourage Outside Interest

Young Well-Paid IT Specialists Are Making Belarus Known Internationally

Belarusian Tech Companies Lead a Global Technological Advance in Outsourcing and Product Development

PandaDoc — Rolling Sales Procedures Together So Everyone Succeeds

Italy and Belarus: A Relationship Based on Complementarities and History

21st century Manufacturing Arrives at Great Stone

Great stone

Belarus: The Importance Of Diversification

Belarus Is Where the New Silk Road Heads For Europe

Belarus is the most creative EEU country

Minsk International Airport Widens its International Reach

Belavia

Mobilising Private Sector Investment in Belarus, Moldova & Ukraine

IFC

Rolling Sales Procedures Together so Everyone Succeeds

Coworkers

Czechs Hold Emerging Europe’s Most Powerful Passport

Encouraging SME’s Development Will Help Build Belarusian Economy

Belarus Refinery Boss Upbeat Despite Challenges

oil refinery

Central And Eastern Europe At the World Property Market

The EU Is Encouraging Belarus to Join the World Trade Organisation

Belarus and Singapore Share the Same Factors for Economic Success

Belarus: Navigating the geopolitical storm

The Country Shows Promise but Needs Some Reforms

Bringing Belarus’ Cultural Past to Life for Belarusians and the World

More EU Help for Belarus SMEs

GRODNO BELARUS - DECEMBER 13 2013: Seamstress in textile factory sewing with a industrial sewing machine .

The Great Stone Industrial Park — Making Doing Business Easy in Minsk

“e-Belarus”: Embracing the Internet and its Possibilities

One Belt One Road: a Big Task for Europe

The UK and Belarus: A Partnership to Introduce the Real Belarus to Europe

Are Labour Shortages Driving Economic Growth?

Belarus: MOST Builds a Bridge to the Future

Under Promise, Over Deliver: Prospects for the EU’s Eastern Partnership in 2018

Eastern partnership

OECD: Belarus Has to Find Its Own Belarusian Model to Emerge

Belarus Introduces New Business-Friendly Auditing Procedures

MINSK, BELARUS - AUGUST 15, 2016: Aerial view of the southwestern part of the Minsk with Palace of Sport and old and new other buildings. Minsk is the capital and largest city of Belarus.

The Deep Roots of Currency Crises in the Former Soviet Union

Not All Quiet on the Eastern Front

Using Words to Paint a Picture – Belarus’ Nobel Prize Winning Novelist

Breaking trade barriers with CIS has never been easier

Foreign Investors: Belarus Offers Opportunities But Further Improvements Are Needed

Belarus-Turkey Investment Forum to increase investment and trade between the two countries

Despite Public Anxieties, Migration is Playing a Key Role in ECA Growth

Bratislava city aerial panoramic view. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia.

Belarus 2020: Turning the Vicious Circle Into an Upward Spiral

Slowly, Tech Brand Belarus Emerges

belarus tech

Belarus and the EBRD:
Working to Expand the Country’s Strengths and Success

Feel the Vibe of the City of Minsk

Trinity suburb in Minsk (Nemiga) Belarus on 20 May 2017

Emerging Europe to Record Positive Growth Across the Board in 2018

coins growth

Belarus is Bringing Opportunities for European Companies

Great Stone

Business Mentors Helping to Solve Business Development Problems First

Portrait of confident business people interacting in the office

Belarus’s Election Tests the EU’s Global Strategy

Lukashenka seeks to avoid commitment to Russia’s geostrategic goals

Will the New Five-day Visa-free Regime Encourage More Visitors to Belarus?

New investors interested in Belarus’ Great Stone Industrial Park

Falling Student Numbers and Declining R&D Result From Lack of Funds

Outsourcing in Germany: Stop Talking at and Start Talking to

Belarus: On the Way to a Market Economy?

Belarus US Business Relations Thrive as Conditions Improve

Belarusian Economy on a Diet to Change its Financial Outlook

Office Space Vacancy is Currently Low but Building Standards Cause Concern

Minsk Belarus - March 23 2017 modern architecture business center Pokrovsky on Pobediteley Avenue editorial

Is the CEE Region About to Steal the Outsourcing Crown From India?

Amazing view on the Taj Mahal in sunset light with reflection in water. The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river. Agra Uttar Pradesh India.

UK Shores: the New Frontier, a View on a Series of Fortunate Events

Belarus Is One of the Top Outsourcing Destinations of 2016

Foreigners choose Minsk and Gomel as Belarus’ most attractive FDI destinations

Belarus’ Economy Is Slowly Recovering From Past Declines

Cautious Upturn in Emerging Europe Haunted by the Spectre of Uncertainty

Donald Trump

The Belarusian Financial Sector: An Industry in the Process of Restructuring

Veni, Vidi, Vici, Or My Personal Experience of Doing Business in Belarus

Belarus Serves up Some Recipes for Success

Business in Belarus Recipe Book

Belarusian Economic Recovery May Downgrade Intended Reforms for Competitiveness

Belarus: Changing Old Ideas And Mixing With the New in Belarus’ Export Market

Brexit Is a Great Opportunity to Attract Foreign Investors to Belarus

Belarus Is Ready to Begin With Venture Capital Investments

FocusEconomics: Belarusian Economy to Grow in Q4 2016 and Onwards

The EU’s Benign Neglect Of Eastern Europe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *