Edited by David Smallbone, Friederike Welter and Mirela Xheneti
Chapter 8: Cross-border entrepreneurial cooperation at the household level: Belarus and EU countries
Being on a geographical and economic frontier between the countries of the European Union (EU) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), during its fifteen years of sovereign development Belarus has formulated objectives of its external economic policy that are to a large extent oriented towards the countries of its western border. Some new member states of the EU, such as Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, have become strategic partners for Belarus in terms of cross-border cooperation (CBC). Cross-border trade with Lithuania has steadily intensified during 1999–2004, with Latvia during 1997–2004, and with Poland during 2000–2004, especially at the level of regions bordering these countries, such as Brest, Vitebsk and Grodno. For example, the greatest volumes of export–import transactions are with Lithuania and Poland in the Grodno region. The negative trade balance of the Brest region with its border countries zone is generated mainly by the excess of import deliveries from Poland above export (Belitsky and Rudenkov, 2005, pp. 41–5; Litviniuk, 2009, p. 182). However, these data reflect only the official statistics. No petty traders’ cross-border transactions have been taken into account in the official statistics, although the informal economic activity did flourish during the transition period. It has been argued in scientific circles that informal entrepreneurial activities can be a seedbed for new enterprises (for example Smallbone and Welter, 2006). However, the existing body of literature studying the CBC in the post-Soviet countries is overwhelmingly oriented towards actors such as businesses and institutions (Chubrik et al., 2008; Erlovskih, 2005; Sidorchuk, 2007).
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