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Lukashenko: Belarus, Russia's Voronezh Oblast should try to achieve $1bn in trade

11.06.2024

Belarus and Russia's Voronezh Oblast need to strive to achieve $1 billion in trade, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Voronezh Oblast Governor Alexander Gusev on 10 June, BelTA has learned.

 The head of state warmly welcomed the Russian governor, noting that two years  passed since their last meeting. “Back then in Minsk we outlined a number of important areas of cooperation, agreed to step up interaction in industry, agriculture, and in humanitarian matters,” said the Belarusian leader. “Largely thanks to your efforts, Voronezh Oblast has become one of the most important partners of our country.”

 In 2023, the trade exceeded $500 million. “It’s a good result, but we should strive for the coveted billion, as we have agreed, especially since we have good dynamics this year. The region [Voronezh Oblast] has become the 13th biggest consumer of our imports among Russian regions,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko named the most promising avenues of cooperation.

Construction

 This area has always been the driver of trade between Belarus and Voronezh Oblast. Over the past three years the total cost of joint projects in this field has soared 10 times to approach RUB8.5 billion.

 These projects include tire recycling, as well as construction of social facilities. “Belarusian specialists were involved in the renovation of the main sports facility [of Voronezh] - the Central Trade Unions Stadium. I am sure, after the renovation this facility will become one of the best in the Russian Federation,” the head of state added.

 Manufacturing 

 The president proposed to explore cooperation opportunities in the manufacturing industry.

 Voronezh Oblast is very familiar with Belarus-made equipment and uses almost all types of it to a greater or lesser extent. MAZ regularly takes part in tenders for equipment supplies, and MTZ, Gomselmash, and Amkodor participate in competitions to sell their agricultural, road and forestry equipment.

 “Yet today, the growing demand for equipment in Russia necessitates preliminary work between manufacturers and consumers. We make a priority of providing high-quality and timely maintenance services, personnel training, supplies of spare parts and consumables. This is a must if you want to supply equipment,” the head of state emphasized.

Agriculture and foodstuffs

“You are known for your significant contribution to Russia's overall output  of agricultural products and for meeting the needs of the region and the Central Federal District in such products. Yet, there are always vacant niches and room for more products that consumers need.” According to statistics, in 2023, Voronezh Oblast was the 10th biggest importer of Belarusian foodstuffs and agricultural raw materials among the regions of the Russian Federation. “We will be glad to see you in the top five in terms of consumption and processing of our products,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.

According to the president, Belarusian enterprises and research facilities are also ready to exchange their experience of using new agricultural technologies. They already actively cooperate in seed production. Belarus, for its part, offers technologies in dairy farming, including design and construction of dairy complexes, their provision with equipment.

Utilities

This area is closely related to housing construction and maintenance, as well as the provision of quality utility services to households. “You know that Belarus offers not only solutions, but also machinery and equipment for waste collection, sorting and processing, for water treatment, and wastewater disposal,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko. He invited the Voronezh Oblast delegation to discuss these and other matters during the meeting.

 The president guaranteed that all agreements reached will be implemented by the Belarusian side.

 “For example, your region and our government could work more actively on high-tech industries (electronics, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, information and communication technologies, energy saving and many other areas). You could also support industrial cooperation using domestic solutions and components,” the head of state suggested.

Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to the fact that no topics are off limits, and Belarus is ready to consider issues that are of interest to Voronezh Oblast. “We are the ones who walk the talk,” the Belarusian leader assured.

“I think the time has come for us to cooperate more closely. Finally, thanks to circumstances, we understand who is who, who are true friends, and who have simply piggybacked off Russia and our cooperation for many years,” the president added.

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