Over the first eight months of 2003, the trade turnover between Russia and Belarus gained one third and is expected to overcome $12bn this year, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko reported at a meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Russia-Belarus Union in the Kremlin. The Belarusian leader pointed out that as compared to 2002, the trade turnover growth will be 25 percent this year, which was over $2.5bn. According to Lukashenko, this is equal to Russian-Ukrainian trade turnover in 2002, the Mayak radio station reported.
Lukashenko pointed to the fact that Belarus's share in Russia's trade turnover with CIS countries was some 50 percent. According to the Belarusian president, since the CIS has been created, the total turnover between its members dropped by over three times, while the Russian-Belarusian turnover went up by over three times. "This is the most convincing indicator of our being interested in each other; this testifies to the Russia-Belarus Union being the only working integration model in post-Soviet history," Lukashenko stated.