DUSHANBE (TCA) — Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon and Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko have signed an agreement on strategic cooperation between Tajikistan and Belarus.
The document was signed on June 28 in Minsk, where Rahmon arrived with an official visit.
Belarus and Tajikistan will step up efforts to implement a cooperation roadmap, Lukashenko said during his talks with Rahmon earlier in the day, BelTA news agency reported.
“We will take measures to intensify a roadmap of our relations, discuss closer cooperation between Tajikistan, Belarus and third countries, especially Afghanistan. You suggested that we engage Afghanistan in this cooperation,” the Belarusian leader said.
The Belarusian president also expressed concern over a decrease in the volume of his country’s trade with Tajikistan. “The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the governments should rectify trade between the two countries. We also need to step up efforts to promote joint products on the markets of third countries,” Lukashenko said.
In 2018 Belarus-Tajikistan trade totaled $37.4 million, down by nearly 13%. Belarus' export made up $33.4 million, import stood at $4 million. Since the beginning of 2019, the bilateral trade has been experiencing a downturn. In January-April the bilateral trade shrank to $12.1 million, which was 83.2% as of the same period a year before.
Belarus' main exports to Tajikistan included tractors, automobiles, sugar, chipboards, carpets, refrigerators, and tires. Belarus imported from Tajikistan fruits, nuts, dried fruits, cotton fiber, cotton yarn, and textile apparel.
An enterprise assembling Belarus’ MTZ tractors operates in Hisor, Tajikistan. Work is in progress to set up a joint Tajik-Belarusian dairy enterprise in Dushanbe.