Posted: 11.06.2024 10:36:54

Belarus — Voronezh Region: $1bn worth plans

President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Governor of Russia’s Voronezh Region Alexander Gusev at the Palace of Independence in Minsk, on June 10th

Construction, agriculture and industry are main drivers for trade turnover growth between Belarus and Voronezh Region


Welcoming the guest, the Head of State recalled that two years had passed since their previous meeting, “At that time in Minsk, we outlined a range of important areas for our co-operation and agreed to liaise more actively in industry, agriculture, and the humanitarian sphere. Largely thanks to your efforts, the Voronezh Region has become one of Belarus’ most important partners. In 2023, the trade turnover exceeded $0.5bn, which is a good indicator, although we must strive for the desirable $1bn. Moreover, the dynamics remains good this year, and your region has reached the 13th place in Russia in terms of exports from Belarus.” 
The Head of State highlighted construction when referring to the areas in which Belarus and the Voronezh Region successfully liaise, “This area has traditionally been a leader in our trade relations. The total cost of projects implemented as part of our co-operation has increased 10 times over the past three years. In monetary terms, this is almost ₽8.5 billion.” 
The President noted that the joint projects carried out by the parties include industrial construction, in particular, tyre recycling production and well-known social facilities. 
The Head of State noted that the Voronezh Region is familiar with the equipment manufactured in Belarus. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, almost the entire range of Belarus-made machinery is used in the Russian region, to a greater or lesser extent. Belarus’ flagship MAZ constantly participates in tenders for the purchase of bus equipment, while MTZ [Minsk Tractor Works’ trademark], Gomselmash and Amkodor take part in tenders for the supply of agricultural, road and logging machinery. 
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed, “The current growing demand for machinery in Russia requires preliminary work between manufacturers and consumers. We rely on high-quality and timely service support, staff training, supply of spare parts and consumables. It is impossible to supply any machinery to the markets without this.” 
Speaking of the interaction between Belarus and the Voronezh Region in the field of agriculture and food, the President mentioned Voronezh brands which contribute to Russia’s general volumes of agricultural products and help saturate the region and the Central Federal District.
At the same time, as noted by the Belarusian leader, there are always free niches and a place for a wide range of products that are necessary for consumers. “We will be glad to bring you into the top five in terms of consumption and processing of our products,” Aleksandr Lukashenko addressed the Russian guest.
The President added that Belarusian enterprises and scientific organisations are also ready to exchange experience on the use of new technologies in agriculture, and scientists of Belarus and the Voronezh Region are actively liaising in the field of seed production. “For our part, we can also offer technologies in the field of dairy production, including the design and construction of complexes, and their equipment,” the Head of State emphasised.

On new promising directions and true friends  

The Head of State pointed out, “You could work more actively with our Government in high-tech industries — electronics, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, information and communication technologies, energy saving, and so on — and support production co-operation using domestic developments and component base. You know our economy and our enterprises well, hence there are no closed topics for agreements and negotiations. We are ready to make all kinds of decisions that will be of interest to you.”
Another area of co-operation is closely related to housing construction and maintenance of the housing stock in technically sound condition, as well as the provision of high-quality services to the population. It is possible to learn from Belarus not only how to organise work in this area: machinery and equipment for waste collection, sorting and recycling, water treatment and sanitation are produced in the country.
“I guarantee that we will implement everything that you agree on in the Government and that we decide upon together with you,” Aleksandr Lukashenko told the Russian guest. “I think the time has come for us to work more closely with each other. Finally, thanks to circumstances, we have realised who is who: who are real friends, and who have been simply stuck to Russia and our co-operation for many years.”

What Voronezh Region Governor asked Belarusian leader to do

Belarus and Russia’s Voronezh Region have achieved significant success in construction co-operation and intend to continue liaison in this direction. During the meeting, Voronezh Region Governor Alexander Gusev asked Belarusian partners for support in the construction of a new football stadium in the regional centre. “This requires a decision by the Russian Government, enabling us to sign such a contract without competitive procedures. It seems to me this would be a very correct form of interaction,” Alexander Gusev noted. “As far as those successful projects that have already been implemented are concerned (particularly, the construction of the Sodruzhestvo mega-school — a large educational centre for almost three thousand students), we see that everything is being done efficiently and very quickly.”
In an interview with journalists, Alexander Gusev clarified that the stadium will boast the most modern format, seating 25,000 spectators and having very good multimedia content. “It will be a great field. We are sometimes criticised by the teams arriving in Voronezh. If they used to lose on a not very good field, now they will lose on a good field,” the Voronezh Region Governor noted with humour.
As for industrial interaction, he agreed with the Belarusian leader on the need to strengthen co-operation ties, “You have rightly noted that we have opportunities in the development of the radio-electronic industry. We boast a lot of competencies in the region, about two dozen enterprises are working in this direction. Of course, we could complement each other in this regard. This year we will bring a large delegation of business directors who could start liaising directly.”

Voronezh Region Governor listed spheres for co-operation with Belarus

Commenting on the tasks announced by the Head of State to achieve a mutual trade turnover of $1bn, Mr. Gusev noted that this is a rather ambitious figure. He outlined two main areas, apart from construction, in which the parties would interact, “These include agriculture and industry. The Voronezh Region is among the leaders in agricultural production in Russia and the country’s important industrial region.”
Referring to the specific agreements discussed at the meeting with the President, the Russian guest said, “We focused on the development of dairy farming and the use of Belarusian milk producers’ technologies. Our organisations were largely oriented towards foreign ones, and I hope the experience of our Belarusian colleagues will prove useful.”
Alexander Gusev added that a trip would be organised for representatives of Voronezh large dairy producers to Belarus in order to get acquainted with the capabilities of local companies. The provision of Belarusian and Russian farmers with their own seeds, as well as highly productive meat and dairy cattle, is another important area. Agreements have already been reached on the supply of sugar beet seeds from the Voronezh Region to Belarus, as well as on the supply of winter barley seeds from the republic to this Russian region. 
According to the Voronezh Region Governor, construction, agriculture and industry are the main drivers for the trade turnover growth between his region and Belarus. Mr. Gusev also highlighted radio and microelectronics as the areas for mutual growth of trade turnover, since both parties have good competencies in this field.
Aircraft building is another promising area. Voronezh Aircraft Manufacturing Association is one of three enterprises in the world where wide-body aircraft can be produced. The company is now preparing to produce smaller aircraft, including military transport. “I hope we will be able to liaise in this area as well,” Mr. Gusev said.

Based on materials of and