Belarus' Vitebsk Oblast and Shandong Province of China have signed an agreement on friendship and comprehensive cooperation, BelTA learned from the Vitebsk regional administration.
The document was signed during the Shandong Province Twin Regions Forum in Jinan City on 15-17 October. The forum defined cooperation priorities: regular business visits at all levels, cooperation in trade and investment, industry, and transport logistics, establishing joint companies in petrochemicals, water treatment, electronics and other areas. Consideration was given to the cooperation in medicine and culture. A decision was taken to draw up a cooperation road map.
Delegations from 33 countries participated in the Twin Regions Forum. A delegation of Vitebsk Oblast led Governor Nikolai Sherstnev included senior officials of the regional economy committee, regional cities, the administration of the Vitebsk Free Economic Zone, Meat and Dairy Products Concern, processing and industrial plants, woodworking companies. On the sidelines of the forum, the Vitebsk Oblast governor presented the capabilities of the region, shared the experience of introducing IT in various areas to improve the quality of services and living standards in the region, held direct talks with an agricultural company interested in large shipments of peat products. The working group of the region visited one of the largest milk processing plants Jiabao to see the technological level and identify the opportunities for cooperation. Representatives of the delegation shared their experience of introducing smart city technologies at the Mayors Dialogue event. Officials of Vitebsk and Novopolotsk held working meetings with their colleagues to outline the near-term cooperation priorities. The Chinese side expressed interest in resolving issues related to the environment, waste management and water treatment by joint efforts.
Vitebsk Oblast has been developing business contacts with Shandong Province, one of the top three regions of China, since the first memorandum of cooperation was signed in 2006. ties are maintained by Vitebsk and Jinan, Novopolotsk and Weihai, Orsha and Qingdao.
In January-August, the trade between Vitebsk Oblast and the Chinese provinces amounted to $69.6 million. The export came at $13.5 million, which was 2.1 times more than year-on-year.