Ties stretch to regions
Belarus still values its direct connections with Russian regions, as noted by President Lukashenko during his recent meeting with the Governor of the Penza Region, Vasily Bochkarev. Mr. Lukashenko has suggested using Eurasian integration to develop industrial co-operation between Belarusian business entities and their partners in Russian regions.
By Vasily Kharitonov
Co-operation has advantages
“I’m firmly convinced that modern conditions require our partnerships to extend beyond trade and barter transactions,” Mr. Lukashenko emphasised. “We should create joint ventures across the Russian regions, especially in light of our Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. Industrial co-operation is a key area of interaction.”
Co-operative projects have many advantages, according to the President: promoting bilateral trade, creating employment, stimulating production of competitive technology and increasing tax revenue. Positive examples are apparent in our liaisons with the Penza Region, where an assembly plant of Belarusian tractors launched last year. Joint production of elevator equipment is being considered and, according to Mr. Lukashenko, co-operation is afoot in the spheres of agriculture, transport and construction.
Lift in the future already launched
Mr. Bochkarev confirmed his region’s interest in developing industrial co-operation with Belarus and noted his particular admiration for high quality Mogilev lifts; in the region, 80 percent of existing elevators are from Mogilev and, with grand housing construction afoot, further co-operation seems promising.
“We have much to learn from you in terms of road construction,” admitted Mr. Bochkarev. “We could also launch joint furniture and garment manufacturing, promoting these products not only in Russia and Belarus, but to other CIS countries and beyond.”
Dreams come true
Mr. Bochkarev praised agricultural development in Belarus, both in terms of the creation of modern jobs and use of the latest equipment. “The farms we’ve seen have been beautiful, manned by well-trained employees and, of course, expecting a good income,” he said. “We’ve also seen the equipment you produce, including that made jointly with Dutch companies, which is assembled and partially completed by Belarusian enterprises. I’ve dreamed about such a thing and you’ve achieved it.”
Mr. Lukashenko stressed that all the proposals made by the Governor of the Penza Region are of interest to Belarus, “We’d like, if not to restore Soviet production volumes, then to approach them. We may even recover these volumes, if Russia agrees.” According to the President of Belarus, Mr. Bochkarev many times repeated Mr. Lukashenko’s suggestion made to the President and Prime Minister of Russia two or three months ago, regarding joint projects in the field of light industry: to restore worsted, cloth, leather and shoe manufacture.
Fabric of success quite tangible
Mr. Lukashenko believes that our country could go further in this direction. “Let’s create an appropriate holding together, buying raw materials and manufacturing products. We’ll win tenders together and lift this sphere,” he suggested. “We can’t escape. If you accept China dressing and shoeing you, then it will be so. However, we should have our own [enterprises]. Moreover, we can do this.” The President noted that Belarus will start the development of associated industries, ‘beginning with fabrics and followed by agriculture’. “We’ll drive forward sheep breeding in the Russian Federation. In Belarus, we’ve already begun,” he continued. Summing up the discussion, Mr. Lukashenko noted that Belarus is ready to send experts to the Penza Region and to start supplying equipment. The President also stressed that he guarantees the fulfilment of all agreements. In turn, the Governor noted that he would monitor personally the implementation of bilateral projects. The parties have decided to create a working group to analyse all potential avenues of co-operation between Belarus and the Penza Region.