Foreign Economic Relations
By mid-1995 Belarus still relied primarily on Russia and other members of the CIS as its primary trade partners but had started looking to expand its economic ties beyond the CIS. It turned to the EU, with whom it signed an agreement with the goal of gradual economic integration of Belarus into the EU, as well as to markets in the east, where it was better able to compete. An example of the latter was Belarus's trade of farm machinery and chemical fibers for Iranian oil in March 1995.
Although the total volume of Belarus's foreign trade declined by nearly one-third in 1994, the balance of its trade (non-CIS countries versus CIS countries) improved. Belarus's lack of reform of its domestic economy, however, has slowed down efforts to improve and expand its foreign economic relations.
In January 1995, Belarus signed a number of agreements in hopes that they would improve its access to foreign markets: trade barriers were lowered between Russia and Belarus, and Kazakhstan joined the agreement to create a free-trade area (however, one month later, the accord was still not implemented). Belarus and the EU signed an agreement to create a free-trade zone between the EU and Belarus. Under its terms, all quantitative limits on imports from Belarus to the EU will be abolished.
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