In recent years, Belarus has stepped up its efforts to promote relationships with developing countries in Latin America, Africa, South and Southeast Asia. Increasing difficulties with exports to the main trade partners make Belarus looking for new markets. This research paper analyzes the parameters of Belarusian trade with developing countries in 2011/12 based on official trade statistics.
Belarusian export volume exceeds USD20 million per annum with about 30 developing countries. Out of those, in case of almost 20 countries potash and nitrogen fertilizers constitute the dominant export commodity, accounting for 70% to 90% of Belarus’s total export supplies to these countries. The main export commodity to the Middle East and some African countries is steel products, whereas oil products became the main export commodity to Afghanistan and Mongolia in 2012. In the wake of the conflict between Belaruskali and Uralkali and continuing drop in global potash prices, the Belarusian trade structure with many developing countries will likely see major modifications;
Among developing countries, which reportedly had two-way trade with Belarus in excess of USD100 million in 2012, the structure of Belarusian exports to only five countries was quite diverse, namely to China, Iran, Turkey, Venezuela, and Cuba. Interestingly, with all these countries Belarus developed rather active political relations. Belarusian exports to the rest of developing countries are dominated by a single commodity. For these countries Belarus is, in fact, a mono-exporting country. Belarusian mechanical engineering products are exported in rather large volumes to quite a few developing countries, namely to Venezuela, Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, and China;
The value of total imports from China to Belarus exceeds the value of imports from the rest of developing countries. Of all developing countries, only China, Turkey, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia supply a quite diverse variety of products to Belarus, whereas imports from the other major trade partners in the developing world is dominated by a single product category. In 2012, imports to Belarus from only 25 developing countries was worth at least USD10 million. For about ten of them, plant products and foodstuffs are the dominant export commodities to Belarus. In case of a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa, the main export commodity was calcium phosphates. For the countries in the Southeast Asia and some African states, the largest export category to Belarus is natural rubber, while polymeric substances, ethylenes, and acyclic alcohols dominate Belarusian imports from Saudi Arabia.
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