MINSK, JANUARY 22. /RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT OLESYA LUCHANINOVA/ -- A record-high level of trade between Belarus and Russia has been reached in the last ten years, the press service of the Belarussian Economic Ministry has said on Thursday.

Their 2003 trade turnover was over 11 billion dollars' worth, 26.2 percent up from 2002.

According to the report of the Belarussian ministry, the 2003 export was 4.5 billion and imports about 7 billion dollars: Belarus was in the red in bilateral trade by 2.4 billion dollars.

The upping of prices on Russian imports played a special role in the trade imbalance, believes the Belarussian ministry. Thus, in January-November 2003 the average prices of oil, natural gas and ferrous metals were a quarter above the average prices in the same period a year before.

Minding that actually half of the general volume of import from Russia is energy resources and ferrous metals, the dynamics of their average prices appreciably tells on that of Russian imports to Belarus in general.

On results of 2003, there is a tendency of increasing all the staple Russian exports. Despite the appreciable growth of Belarussian exports to Russia in natural terms, the trade-imbalance tendency was not overcome last year.

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