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Favourable wind blows on the sails of innovations

Russia’s northern capital hosts 6th session of Belarus-St. Petersburg Business Co-operation Council
One of Belarus’ major economic allies is St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation, the country which, without exaggeration, can be considered our major foreign trade partner. Mutual trade between Belarus and the Northern Palmira (as this city is often called) has come close to $2bn, and the pace is due to expand over the course of time.

However, the Belarusian Government currently notes that it is high time to discuss the details of trade contracts, as well as to take dialogue to another level and aiming to develop joint productions. Taking into account the intellectual achievements of the Russians and the technical potential of the Belarusians, such projects could become a reality.

This was high on the agenda at the 6th St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum. Opening the event, the Head of the Belarusian Government, Mikhail Myasnikovich, noted that ‘powerful industrial and innovation potential is concentrated in St. Petersburg’ and, according to him, this explains the city’s success in economic development. “In our interaction with St. Petersburg, we’re shifting from the phase of trade-related collaboration towards the next phase — innovation co-operation. We have the potential, resources and interested, eager and inquisitive young people,” added Mr. Myasnikovich.

Mr. Myasnikovich reminded the assembly that the presidents of Belarus and Russia have adopted an important political decision within the framework of the Customs Union: to move to the functioning of a single market (without withdrawals and restrictions) and the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union on January 1st, 2015. “However, when defending the internal market of the three states, we shouldn’t forget that we need to be interesting and competitive for the foreign market,” explained the PM.

The Prime Minister familiarised himself with the forum’s exposition, paying special attention to the polymer section, aerospace instrument making, as well as the sections of the tool making industry. According to Mr. Myasnikovich, Belarusian and Russian production in the last of these areas is low when compared with other countries. In order to improve the situation, the Head of the Belarusian Government suggested that the sides develop an opportunity to implement joint programmes. Another important task which needs to be solved by the tool making industry is import substitution.

In St. Petersburg, the Belarusian participants discussed the issues of the implementation of joint projects with their Russian colleagues. They focused on production co-operation, the organisation of supplies of Belarusian passenger and municipal vehicles and roadside machinery, lift equipment for the Russian northern capital, as well as collaboration in food, construction and sci-tech areas. Mr. Myasnikovich also met with the Governor of St. Petersburg, Georgy Poltavchenko.
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