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USA and Canada

USA

Diplomatic relations between Belarus and the United States were established on December 28, 1991. The Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the United States of America was opened in Washington, D.C. in 1992.

Following the establishment of diplomatic relations between Belarus and the United States, a solid foundation for political, economic and humanitarian cooperation between the two countries was laid. The President of the Republic of Belarus visited the United States in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2015, including for participation in the session of the UN General Assembly. In 1994, the U.S. President paid a short visit to Belarus.

However, since 1997 the United States has started to implement a “selective engagement” policy with respect to Belarus, resulting in a decrease of interstate cooperation. 

Belarus has never been interested in deteriorating relations with the U.S. On the contrary, normalizing relations has always been one of the priorities of Belarus' foreign policy. Belarus advocates development of bilateral ties with the U.S. on the basis of mutual respect and partnership.

Recently Belarus – U.S. relations have been gradually improving. Level and intensity of Belarus’ contacts with governmental bodies have increased. Belarus-United States cooperation on global and regional security, combating international terrorism, and in international organizations is being maintained and expanded. In particular, Belarus and the U.S. are cooperating on preventing illicit transit of nuclear and radioactive materials.

As part of his visit to the U.S. in September 2015, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has a protocol meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. 

In July 2017, the U.S. Congressional delegation headed by Senator Roger Wicker visited Belarus to take part in the session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. During the visit, delegation members met with the Head of Belarusian State. 

Belarus and the United States are engaged in a process of developing bilateral relations, systematically increasing cooperation in trade and economic area and resolving issues in bilateral agenda of mutual concern.

Since October 2015 U.S. sanctions against the “Belneftekhim” concern and its entities have been suspended.

The United States is one of the main Belarus' trade partner, holding ninth-tenth position among non-CIS countries in terms of trade turnover. 

Belarusian export of goods to the United States in 2016 amounted to $129.5 million. Main exports included potash and nitrogen fertilizers, metal products, high-precision equipment, furniture, linen fabric, food products.

Belarus-United States trade

million US dollars

 

Year

Turnover

Export

Import

Balance

2012

705,3

71,3

634,0

-562,7

2013

676,2

89,1

587,1

-498,0

2014

627,6

120,0

507,6

-387,6

2015

568,3

122,7

445,6

-322,9

2016

644,7

129,5

515,2

-385,7

Export of Belarusian services to the U.S. in 2016 made up $438.4 million. Exported services primarily consisted of computer, telecommunication and information services provided mainly residents of Hi-Tech Park.

The United States is one of the leading investors in Belarusian economy. In 2016 the U.S. invested $51.1 million in Belarus.

The number of joint ventures and foreign enterprises registered in Belarus with the American capital is estimated to be around 400. The well-known U.S. companies and commercial brands, such as Microsoft, EPAM Systems, Exadel, Hewlett-Packard, Honeywell, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, have their offices in Belarus.

Cooperation with the U.S. states, including California, Florida, North Dakota and Texas is successfully developing.

Belarusian and American law enforcement agencies are maintaining interagency cooperation, including on fighting high-tech crimes.

Belarus successfully collaborates with the United States in domain of humanitarian assistance. That includes cooperation with the U.S. charity organizations that provide Chernobyl-related assistance. In 2016 the United States was one of the top three donor countries in terms of the volume of humanitarian assistance to Belarus amounting to $9.2 million.

 

In 2016 an Intergovernmental Agreement on Protection and Preservation of Certain Cultural Properties was signed with the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.

Canada

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Belarus and Canada were established on April 15, 1992. In 1997, the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus was set up in Ottawa. Official representation to Belarus is based at the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw.

In 2006-2015, official contacts between Belarus and Canada remained limited on the initiative of the Canadian side. In 2006 and 2007, the Government of Canada adopted restrictive measures against the Republic of Belarus, having removed Belarus from Canada’s General Preferential Tariff regime and added Belarus to the Area Control List (ACL) of countries to which the exportation of all items is only permitted with a valid export permit.

As a result of the ongoing normalization of political relations between Minsk and Ottawa, on July 12, 2017 the Government of Canada officially removed Belarus from the ACL.

Having resumed and raised the level of regular consultations between the foreign ministries, Belarus and Canada are working to develop constructive relations both in bilateral format and within international organizations.

Belarus and Canada intensified bilateral trade and investment cooperation, and Export Development Canada and Canadian Commercial Corporation resumed interaction with Belarus. Belarus has organized several economic events in major cities of Canada and conducted a series of visits of Belarusian business delegations to several Canadian provinces. 

Belarusian export of goods to Canada in 2016 increased more than 4 times reaching $53.7 million. Main exports were metal products, nitrogen fertilizers, furniture and laminated plywood.

Belarus-Canada trade

 

million US dollars

 

Year

Turnover

Export

Import

Balance

2012

69,3

34,0

35,3

-1,3

2013

63,2

27,3

35,9

-8,6

2014

119,9

42,2

77,7

-35,5

2015

30,6

11,1

19,5

-8,4

2016

73,2

53,7

19,5

34,2

Export of Belarusian services to Canada in 2016 made up $8.3 million and consisted primarily of computer, telecommunication and information services, and transport services.

There are about 40 joint ventures and foreign enterprises with Canadian capital registered in Belarus and offices of two Canadian companies.

In 2016 Belarus received $11.8 million of Canadian investments.

Belarus and Canada cooperate on matters of humanitarian assistance, including Chernobyl-related projects.