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Belarus, Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast eager to raise bilateral trade to $500m

Economy 13.11.2017 | 17:28
Andrei Kobyakov
Andrei Kobyakov

MINSK, 13 November (BelTA) – Belarus and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast intend to increase the bilateral trade volume up to $500 million. Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov made the relevant statement as he met with Kaliningrad Oblast Governor Anton Alikhanov on 13 November, BelTA has learned.

Andrei Kobyakov said: “First of all, we should take systemic measures to restore the trade levels we had a short while ago. Unlike other regions of Russia, with which we are partners, Kaliningrad Oblast demonstrated certain negative dynamics with regard to mutual trade growth rate in 2017, too. This is why we should take the $190 million we had in 2016 as the baseline and restore the more than $300 million that we had in the past. But we've always intended to reach $500 million in trade with Kaliningrad Oblast. We were quite close to it. I think we should still try to accomplish this task.”

Andrei Kobyakov noted that products made by the Belarusian mechanical engineering industry such as MAZ automobiles, MTZ tractors, Amkodor road construction machines, and Gomselmash harvesters are known well in Kaliningrad Oblast. “These products sell. MAZ buses sell rather well — 106 buses. We expect you've been able to appreciate their comfort and competitive ability and we will be able to resume talks on selling these vehicles in anticipation of the 2018 world championship. Anyway, if you hold the relevant tenders, we will take part in them,” stated Andrei Kobyakov.

Single lots of tractors and small lots of Gomselmash harvesters have been sold, too. “I think your manufacturing and industrial complex needs more of these vehicles and it has the capacity to use them,” added the prime minister.

The Belarusian head of government pointed out that Belarus is also ready to cooperate in agriculture. “We have something to offer in this regard such as new technologies, the expansion of farm lands, and land amelioration. These are the fields where we have good experience. You actively pursue gardening. Belarus can supply saplings for it. About half a million saplings have been sold this year. We are ready to continue cooperation. We have good experience of building dairy farms and greenhouses. I think such services may come in handy in Kaliningrad Oblast,” said the prime minister.

Andrei Kobyakov also spoke about civil engineering. “We've always been present rather actively on the Kaliningrad Oblast market. Our civil engineering products — cement, lime, reinforced concrete, bricks, dry mixtures — sell well. But we expect an even greater demand for these products considering your growing capabilities and investment programs,” he said. Apart from that, the proposal to build a Belarusian city block in Kaliningrad is being discussed.

Among promising cooperation avenues the prime minister mentioned information technologies. “It is a new direction where we have very good prospects for possible cooperation. On the whole, we have a colossal potential. Let's work,” stated Andrei Kobyakov.

Kaliningrad Oblast Governor Anton Alikhanov also mentioned potential for raising the mutual trade turnover. “Although the bilateral trade dropped by about 15% in January-September, Belarusian export to Kaliningrad Oblast is on the rise — plus 20%. We have room for growth. Moreover, the instructions given by our head of state regarding new investment projects in the area of civil engineering, transport infrastructure, roads, and ports will, among other things, require the construction materials Belarus is famed for,” stated Anton Alikhanov.

The Kaliningrad Oblast governor also spoke about plans to build the Belarusian city block. “A good idea. We've had an agreement with the previous government of the region regarding plans to allocate some land in the southeast of the city for this project. I confirm that we will honor these commitments and are ready to move on to the legal dimension. Work in this area is in progress,” he said.

According to Anton Alikhanov, cooperation will also continue in agriculture. “Yes, we have good results in horticulture. We are going to need your support in land amelioration. Apart from that, we have several projects for growing vegetables in greenhouses and projects in the area of dairy cattle farming. We are going to work together in this sphere,” he concluded.

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