There are indications that Belarus is competing with Russia in investing in the Syrian economy as it has begun to expand its economic business clearly recently.

At the end of August, the seventh meeting of the Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation between Belarus and Syria was held in Damascus.

The conference was attended by Pavel Utyupin, Minister of Industry of Belarus, and Suhail Mohammed Abdullatif, Minister of Public Works and Housing of the Syrian Government.

The meeting ended with the signing of seven documents on various economic agreements including trade, communications, education and agriculture, veterinary and medical services.

The presence of Belarusian officials was evident at the Damascus International Fair, where Belarusian Health care Minister Vladimir Karanik joined Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis at the opening of the exhibition.

The exhibition included a special pavilion entitled “Made in Belarus” and contained 14 different institutions, while the Russian pavilion included 16 companies in clear contrast to last year’s session, which included 37 Russian companies and the absence of official Russian representation of the exhibition.

At the same time, Iranian representation was clear, with 100 Iranian companies attending.

The Syrian government has worked to establish bilateral business councils with Russia and Belarus to establish business relations between businessmen and conduct joint business.

However, many Syrian businessmen said conditions in Belarus were more favorable than in Russia, including the facilities they get to enter the country.

Syrian businessmen have set up small investment projects in rural Belarus to produce organic food by buying former Soviet farms.

Trade between Belarus and Syria grew to $ 41.1 million in 2018, with Belarus’s exports reaching $ 37.3 million, up from $ 6.3 million in 2017.

Trade between the two countries reached more than 16 million dollars.

Between January and May this year, exports from Belarus were 12.6 million dollars.

Belarus took advantage of the absence of agreements in the field of health care between Russia and Syria, and therefore intensified its role in this area and seek to be exclusive cooperation and on this basis signed a special protocol for the production and supply of medicines and medical equipment interchangeably.

However, Belarus’s activity cannot be seen as a real economic competitor in Syria, where each country plays differently to its economic advantage.

Moscow relies on large-scale projects in the areas of mineral resources, energy, transport and infrastructure to offset the cost of its military operations, while Belarus, which is based in Europe and largely away from it, is turning Syria into a potential sales market as a reciprocal role-playing policy in both countries.

It’s worth to mention also, that Belarus and Russia are working on economic unity between the two countries to be applied by 2020.

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