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Recipes to attract investors

Belarus shares experience at St. Petersburg Economic Forum
Belarus shares experience at St. Petersburg Economic Forum

The northern capital of the Russian Federation has hosted the 20th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), with enormous interest shown from investors from West and East. We all realise that sanctions will lift eventually and that entrance to Russia brings access to the Eurasian Economic Union, which unites five countries, including Belarus. These are facts which are certainly arousing interest among businessmen.

Belarusian pavilion at the forum

Eurasian Union starts with Minsk

One of the first sessions of the ‘Russian Davos’ discussed further integration within the Eurasian space, since 2016 was proclaimed a year of strengthening trade-economic relations with third states and economic unions.

Integration across the post-Soviet space began with the Union State of Russia and Belarus and, according to experts, this structure continues to play an important role within the EAEU. The next step is a major infrastructural project to bring member states of the EAEU even closer, including via the New Silk Road.

Investments into blood

The Belarusian delegation at the forum was headed by Belarus’ First Deputy Prime Minister, Vasily Matyushevsky, who conducted major negotiations with heads of Russian regions, as well as with representatives of large companies.

One of the major agreements signed at the forum has been the creation of a joint venture in Minsk, manufacturing blood plasma for medical use. Investments total around 1.7bn Russian Roubles, with a share in the company being purchased by the National Immunobiological Company (part of Rostec State Corporation).

“This is truly an important project for our countries,” noted Farmland’s Director General, Ivan Lugovoy. “The launch of production will enable Belarus, Russia and EAEU member states to reduce dependence on imported blood products [albumen and immunoglobulin].”

“These two productions help fulfil our states’ needs, and lead towards future supply to non-CIS states,” explains the CEO of Nacimbio, Nikolay Semenov.

‘High-tech cornflowers’

Belarus organised its first stand at the St. Petersburg forum this year, decorated with bouquets of cornflowers, jugs of milk and Belarusian products, attracting the attention of potential partners for ‘investment opportunities’.

“We’ve tried to move away from traditional folklore images while preserving some of our characteristics, to show that we’re both highly technological and spiritual, as a country,” explains Natalia Nikandrova, the Director of the National Agency for Investment and Privatisation.

As is common at such forums, the stand aimed to attract foreign investors. Among its features was the presentation of Business of Belarus: A Book of Recipes, which Ms. Nikandrova notes, details ‘successful projects already realised by investors in Belarus’. She adds that the edition aims to show that ‘doing business in another country isn’t as easy as making an omelette’, saying, “It’s more like a souffle, being dependent on various factors; it’s complex and unpredictable and it’s possible to burn your fingers.” She comments that the book relates real stories, from representatives of 12 foreign companies working in Belarus, realising investment projects. The book also features favourite recipes of Belarusian cuisine, submitted by heads of these enterprises.

By Yevgeny Belyakov
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