The development of mutually beneficial cooperation with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean is an important area of Belarusian foreign policy. A number of States in the region are strategic partners of Belarus, while the cooperation with other countries in political, economic, educational, scientific and other spheres has a promising future.
Currently, the Republic of Belarus maintains diplomatic relations with 31 out of 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Belarus maintains Embassies in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba and Ecuador, as well as Honorary Consuls in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua and Uruguay. The number of Latin American States where the Heads of Belarusian diplomatic missions are concurrently accredited to is growing increasingly.
Belarus hosts the Embassies of Brazil, Venezuela and Cuba, as well as Honorary Consuls of Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay, Chile and Ecuador. A number of diplomatic missions of Latin American States are accredited to Belarus concurrently.
Strengthening of the relations with Latin American States and the major integration associations of the region serves the long-term interests of Belarus and is the evidence of multi-vectoral and well-balanced Belarusian foreign policy. For Belarus, Latin America is an important field for further integration into global trade and economic networks. The economies of Belarus and the leading countries in the region complement each other in terms of their nature and structure.
An important factor in the convergence of views of Belarus and Latin American States on the international scene is the awareness of the need to create an equitable global order and achieve sustainable development. In this context, relations between Belarus and Latin American and Caribbean States are expanding dynamically, and an intensive process of establishing and strengthening of political dialogue with the leading States in the region is under way.
In 2018 trade turnover between Belarus and Latin American States totaled $ 1.358 billion, with exports amounting to $ 853.8 million and imports – to $ 504.6 million. Belarus’ exports are dominated by fertilizers and complex technical products.
Constructive cooperation with Argentina is being intensified. The visit of a delegation of Belarusian officials and businessmen headed by Pavel Kallaur, Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of Belarus, to Argentina in March 2018 was one of the most remarkable events of the bilateral agenda in recent years. The meetings with the leaders of Argentinian government and financial institution, as well as consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries, held during the visit, proved the mutual interest in fostering cooperation and willingness to find concrete forms of interaction in various areas.
Currently, the commodity distribution networks of two Belarusian enterprises are established in Argentina: a branch of OJSC “Gomselmash” and a representative office of LLC “Belatra”.
Promoting cooperation with Brazil – one of the major trading partners of Belarus in Latin America – meets our strategic interests. There are prospects for further bilateral collaboration in trade, science, technology and other fields.
A representative office of JSC “Belarusian Potash Company” operates successfully in Brazil.
An effective cooperation between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries has been established. In July 2017, during the visit to Brazil of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Evgeny Shestakov, the economic consultations were held. In October 2017, Minsk hosted the third round of political consultations.
In November 2017, Belarusian official delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Anatoly Kalinin paid a visit to Brazil. During the visit, the first meeting of Belarus-Brazil Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation and the first «Brazil–Belarus» Business Forum were organized.
The development of the strategic partnership between Belarus and Venezuela is in progress. Thanks to a number of reciprocal official visits, as well as top- and high level contacts, joint projects in trade, science and technology, among other fields, have been established.
Fruitful Belarusian-Venezuelan cooperation resulted in the creation in Venezuela of joint ventures for oil extraction (“Petrolera BeloVenezolana”), seismic exploration (“Sísmica BeloVenezolana”), gasification (“Venezuelagazstroy”), assembly of trucks (“MAZ-VEN”) and tractors (“VeneMinsk Tractores”). In 2012, a construction materials plant – the largest of its kind in South America – was built. A joint Belarusian-Venezuelan trading house “VENBELKOM S.A.” was opened. Currently, an agrotown is being built in the state of Guarico.
Within the short period, a vast legal framework of bilateral relations has been developed: the parties signed 32 international treaties and 4 international legal instruments. In November 2017, a Road Map of Bilateral Cooperation between the Republic of Belarus and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the Mid-term and Long-term Perspectives was signed.
In order to further enhance the bilateral collaboration, the parties established a Joint High Level Commission, as well as Intergovernmental Commissions on Trade and Economic Cooperation and Cooperation in the Field of Science and Technology.
Cuba is a strategic partner of Belarus in the region. The high level of bilateral cooperation in political, trade and economic, scientific and technical spheres, as well as mutual support in multilateral international platforms, are the traditional elements of the Belarus-Cuba relations. An official visit of President Alexander Lukashenko to Cuba in June 2012 and a meeting of the Belarusian leader with Raul Castro, President of the State Council and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, held in September 2015 on the margins of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, provided a significant impetus to the development of collaboration with Cuba in all areas. The mutuality of interests in deepening bilateral ties was reaffirmed during the official visit to Belarus of First Vice President of the State Council and the Council of Ministers of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez, who is currently the Head of the Cuban State.
The regular political and economic consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries have become one of the key instruments for discussing a full range of issues of Belarus-Cuba relations. The official visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei to Cuba in June 2014 furthered the coordination between Foreign Ministries of Belarus and Cuba, as well as the expanding of bilateral trade. During the visit, an intergovernmental agreement on reciprocal deliveries was singed, that – along with credit support instruments – created a solid basis for further long-term and mutually beneficial commercial cooperation between the two countries.
The establishment of the Joint Belarusian-Cuban Commission for Cooperation in Science and Technology in May 2016 was an important step toward promoting bilateral cooperation in the relevant fields. The collaboration between Belarus and Cuba in the areas of agriculture, environmental protection, education and culture is being continuously enhanced.
Since 2017, a representative office of OJSC “Minsk Tractor Works” operates in Cuba.
The diverse interaction of Belarus with Colombia, Panama and Ecuador is being strengthened.
Visits of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Evgeny Shestakov to Bogota in February and November 2018 contributed to the strengthening of cooperation with Colombia. During the visits, the bilateral political consultations were held, as well as a series of meetings with the representatives of Colombian business community. In November 2018, an intergovernmental agreement on visa-free travel for the holders of diplomatic and service passports was signed.
In November 2018, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Evgeny Shestakov paid a working visit to Panama – the first of its kind in the history of Belarus-Panama relations. During the visit, Belarusian delegation met with Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry of Panama, as well as with Chairman of the Latin American Parliament and the board of directors of the Panamanian Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.
In June 2012, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko paid the first-ever official visit to Ecuador, during which the parties discussed the prospects for the development of trade and economic relations, political dialogue and bilateral cooperation in other promising areas, as well as signed a number of important documents. The reciprocal visit of Ecuadorian top-level delegation to Minsk took place in 2013. In the coming years, the heads of governmental agencies of both countries exchanged visits, and the second meeting of the Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation was held in Quito.
In order to develop cooperation between Belarus and Ecuador in various fields, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Evgeny Shestakov visited Quito in February 2018. During the visit, a regular round of political consultations was held, as well as the meetings of Belarusian delegation with the Heads of the Ministries of Industry and Defense. In May 2018, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Migration of Ecuador María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés paid an official visit to Minsk, during which she held meetings with President Alexander Lukashenko, Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei and Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Vladimir Andreichenko.
Active political contacts between Belarus and Ecuador create favorable conditions for expanding mutually beneficial economic cooperation.
The branch of the Belarusian oil company “Belorusneft” is successfully operating in Ecuador. Investments in extraction of oil and natural gas in Ecuador by “Belorusneft” made it possible to form an operating oil production cluster and created a significant groundwork for the preparation of potentially oil-bearing areas.
The development of cooperation with the Pacific Alliance – regional trading bloc comprised by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru – corresponds to political and economic interests of Belarus. Since June 2018, Belarus is the only Eurasian Economic Union Member State with an observer status in this association. It provides Minsk with additional opportunities for building bridges of cooperation between the two integration initiatives, where about 400 million consumers live.
Since January 2016, Belarus enjoys observer status in the Association of Caribbean States – a prominent integration initiative in the Caribbean that comprises 25 Member States and 12 Associate Members.
Currently, Belarusian foreign policy toward Latin America is focused primarily on the expansion of our political and economic presence in the region, further strengthening of political dialogue with our major partners and enhancing the collaboration with other Latin American countries.
For further details on cooperation between Belarus and Latin America States, please visit the websites of Belarusian Embassies in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba and Ecuador.