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


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.

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.


Belarus: MOST Builds a Bridge to the Future

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

The essence of the Customs Union is protectionism

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

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

Emerging Europe Live: CEE — The Outsourcing Destination

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

Italy and Belarus: A Relationship Based on Complementarities and History

The Belarusian Economy: The Challenges of Stalled Reforms

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

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

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

Lukashenka seeks to avoid commitment to Russia’s geostrategic goals

‘No’ To a Monetary Union With Russia

The Next Four Months Crucial For the Belarus-EU Relations

Winds of Change for Belarus’ Reinsurance Industry?

Central And Eastern Europe At the World Property Market

Brexit Makes Waves Across the European Union and Beyond

Belarus: Navigating the geopolitical storm

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

Emerging Europe Live: Life in Belarus As Seen by Foreigners

Belarus Is One of the Top Outsourcing Destinations of 2016

Brexit Is a Great Opportunity to Attract Foreign Investors to Belarus

Belarus Has Set an Example for Others to Follow

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

Belarus Is Ready to Begin With Venture Capital Investments

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

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

Belarus 2020: Turning the Vicious Circle Into an Upward Spiral

Belarus: The Importance Of Diversification

Encouraging SME’s Development Will Help Build Belarusian Economy

New investors interested in Belarus’ Great Stone Industrial Park

Young Well-Paid IT Specialists Are Making Belarus Known Internationally

Invest in Belarus: looking beyond politics to the future

The Belarusian Banking Sector Moving Towards Modernisation Despite Some Challenges

Are Labour Shortages Driving Economic Growth?

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

PandaDoc — Rolling Sales Procedures Together So Everyone Succeeds

HTP: Belarus’ Engineers Are Leading a Cool Revolution

EBRD Emerging Europe Outlook on Belarus 2016

Belarus: On the Way to a Market Economy?

Not All Quiet on the Eastern Front

Foreign Investors: Belarus Offers Opportunities But Further Improvements Are Needed

Belarusian Economic Recovery May Downgrade Intended Reforms for Competitiveness

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

The Deep Roots of Currency Crises in the Former Soviet Union

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

From Denmark to Belarus — A Personal Experience of Business

High-Tech Park in Minsk is growing rapidly

The Belarusian real estate market is on the up

Belarus Is Where the New Silk Road Heads For Europe

The EU Is Encouraging Belarus to Join the World Trade Organisation

Belarus and Singapore Share the Same Factors for Economic Success

Belarus’s Election Tests the EU’s Global Strategy

Smart, reliable and promising

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

Business Opportunities in Belarus Encourage Outside Interest

Outsourcing in Germany: Stop Talking at and Start Talking to

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

Belarus Is Making the First Steps onto the International Finance Floor

Innovation Brings Great Opportunities to the Belarusian Economy

Belarus US Business Relations Thrive as Conditions Improve

The Reality Is More Interesting Than the Misconceptions

FocusEconomics: Belarusian Economy to Grow in Q4 2016 and Onwards

One Belt One Road: a Big Task for Europe

The EU’s Benign Neglect Of Eastern Europe

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

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

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

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

Why Is Belarus Tech Booming?

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

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

Breaking trade barriers with CIS has never been easier

Germany and Belarus: Thinking Globally Acting Locally

Belarusian Economy on a Diet to Change its Financial Outlook

Belarus is the most creative EEU country

Leave a Reply

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