China extends Belarus $500m credit to modernise

China extends Belarus $500m credit to modernise
Published: 06 November 2007

Belarus signed an agreement on Monday under which China’s Eximbank is to offer a credit of US$500m to modernise cement companies, President Alexander Lukashenko’s press office said.  
The deal was signed during a visit to the ex-Soviet state by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.  
A Belarussian spokesman said the accord set down terms of repayment, but gave no details. Projects linked to the credit would be announced subsequently.  
Another deal signed during the visit provides for a Chinese government credit of $27 million.  
The two sides had earlier agreed on a credit line totalling $1 billion to finance a variety of projects in Belarus. Only a few tens of millions of dollars have actually been drawn.  
Belarus, where Lukashenko maintains heavy state involvement in the economy, has proposed the establishment of joint ventures on its territory.  
"We are the first European country to clinch an agreement with Chinese corporations on building cement plants, pulp mills, power stations and woodworking plants," Lukashenko said during a meeting with the prime minister.  
"We are, in effect, providing China with a showcase in the centre of Europe to demonstrate its high-quality technology and equipment and move them to Western markets."  
Trade between the countries totalled about $1 billion last year, with pledges to boost that figure to $1.5 billion.