Responding to the current global trends, in particular, the shift of global geopolitical and geo-economic life epicenter to Asia, a BISR-initiated international expert seminar "Current issues in securing national "turn to Asia" was held on September 22, 2021 with the participation of representatives of government agencies, business community, research, academic and expert circles.
The event was attended by leading experts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy, National Center for Marketing, the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Development Bank, Foreign Economic Agency, the Republican Business Confederation, Belarusian State University, Belarus State Economic University, Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Belarus, and others, as well as the number of foreign experts .
Formation of a multipolar world with an Asian dominant is inevitably accompanied by the formation of a new world order. The East is a serious challenge to us, and we must be able to take it up.
Within current turbulence aggravated by the pandemic, it is fundamentally important for Belarus to build its national development strategy, taking into account the main global trends.
Economic development of Asian countries is acquiring new qualities that allow us to treat this region both as a "workshop of the world" and a "consumer of the world". Home development through the use of new opportunities in Asia is a national challenge.
In the geostrategic aspect, the dependence of Belarusian trade and economic ties on the West in the context of deteriorating relations is limiting the foreign policy freedom, and poorly developed systemic contacts with Asian countries is holding back the existing potential for national development.
Amid the pressure of sanctions, Belarus is mobilizing, rebuilding, striving to ensure internal development through the use of new opportunities.
An active discussion on this issue, including at the political level, indicates the existence of a consensus on the national "turn to Asia", and stakeholders only need to fill it structurally and meaningfully.
Taking into account the relevant domestic and international realities, the BISR event addresses both conceptual and practical ways to promote national interests in the target countries of the far arc, including at the level of business interests bearers.
The discussion participants agreed that the "turn to Asia" is a conscious exit of the Belarusian economic and expert diplomacy from the usual daily routine and comfort zone, as well as a strategic choice of the state in favor of a dynamically rising part of the world.
This choice implies the development of a comprehensive national strategy based on a deeper diversification of foreign economic activity and integration into the fastest growing markets of the world, as well as into economic, political and civilizational environment of Asia.
The practical objective is to elaborate a strategy that would determine the tactics and adjust steps depending on the dynamics and direction of the global market situation.
This approach involves the concentration of resources on the main areas – targeted initiatives, business projects, events and programs. This is consonant with the principle of the "main link" of the mobilization (anti-crisis) economy, which is especially relevant given the sanctions pressure of the West.
The success of the national "turn to Asia", initially associated with politics or economics, to a great extent depends on the humanitarian component, including mass awareness of the broad strata of society and professional communities about Asian prospects. The most important intellectual and informational challenge is the fundamental shift of this issue to the focus of mass consciousness.
The world is becoming less universal and fragmented. This raises the importance of regions and regional studies. Therefore, each part of Asia should become an object of scientific research, Oriental studies should be a separate field of scientific knowledge and we should substantively study these issues.
A good help would be creation of a national business school, including in association with the leading research and educational centers of certain Asian countries, including the development of specialized educational programs on "business in Asian" with a targeted country specialization.
The state needs practical specialists able to effectively implement the state policy realizing the importance of Asia for the economic future of the country. However, realizing alone is not enough, we should be proactive.
There is a demand for specialists in Oriental studies who don't just deeply understand events and processes being the case in Asian countries, but can offer concrete solutions to challenges facing the state and business in this region. A simple relocation of staff released from the Belarusian diplomatic missions in the West or their re-deployment within specific Asian countries will not be enough.
An extra support and resource base can be, for example, the Belarusian diasporas, already developed sufficiently and relatively successfully integrated into business environment of the Asian region countries.
A critical prerequisite for successful "turn to Asia" should be elaboration of an accompanying international brand of Belarus synchronized with the long-term Asian strategy.
The progressive foreign experience shows that the issue of ensuring a high-quality "turn to Asia" should be based on integrated and scientific approach. In this regard, the economic and mathematical modeling of these processes as an applied object of systemic analysis, is seen as a significant practice-based tool.
In the current international situation, the government-guided national "turn to Asia" is both the matter of ensuring national security, and a measure of anti-crisis response.
The key outcome of the seminar was the creation of a permanent thematic discussion platform in BISR for consequent expert support of promoting national interests of the Republic of Belarus in the target countries and regions of the far arc including Asia.
The objective of this like-minded people club is to synchronize the experience and efforts of state managers, business (entrepreneurs), the educational sector and expert community based on synergy of their cumulative competencies and knowledge, which should be the key to success of the Belarusian strategy of turn to Asia.