It was hot autumn in Belarus, judging by economy. Life is in full swing both at enterprises and in ministries. The year comes to its end, so does another period of life. Scientists and managerial staff are studying the results of last five years and are making plans for the future.
Managers and reporters are focusing on export development program 2006–2010… To be honest, I smile when somebody says Belarus economy should be export-oriented. And it’s no wonder as solid position in outer markets is essential for a small country like ours. Therefore we should rather speak of volume, quality and directions of export flows.
According to data from Ministry of statistics, foreign customers have purchased Belarusian commodities and services at $10.137bn in January through August. This is by 17.7 per cent higher than last year. Foreign trade balance was in surplus and made $677.2m — quite a result! As for geography of new trade links, today it is balanced as never like economists of most diverse schools say. The expanse to EU states resulted in diversification of markets. As of January–July, 36 per cent of total Belarusian export was consumed by Russia, 8.2 per cent went to CIS states and 43.9 per cent was supplied to EU states. The development program assigns economy to increase European export up to 47 per cent. This is no small ambition as our products will face competition from quality of European goods and low prices of massive Chinese offer.
It’s like in boxing in the world market: those strong enjoy respect, those weak go under. Listen to the rhetoric of official economists and you will hear their clarion calls: “competitive reconnaissance”, “aggressive marketing policy”, “expansion to outer markets” and “batch modernization”… This armory must help exporters get stronger. Some already began this and are giving an example to others. Take Belarus Metal Works BMZ: recently its director general Nikolai Andrianov presented a long-term development program to reporters. According to the plan, BMZ (which exports 85 per cent of its products abroad) is expected to increase production volume from $1bn to $4.5–5bn (!) by 2025.
Back to the macro level, you can see two development scenarios: a basic and an optimistic one. According to the first, by 2010 Belarusian export will increase 1.55 times, the second one provides a 1.8-fold boost. World business climate is almost beyond control but life’s for optimists, you know.
by Andrey Vasiliev