MOGILEV, 21 February (BelTA) – Mogilev Oblast and Sweden intend to advance economic cooperation. The relevant statement was made as Mogilev Oblast Governor Vladimir Domanevsky met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden to Belarus Christina Johannesson on 21 February, BelTA has learned.
According to Vladimir Domanevsky, while cooperation between Sweden and Mogilev Oblast in humanitarian affairs is vibrant, the level of trade and investment cooperation falls below the existing potential. In 2017 the bilateral trade dropped considerably and totaled only 60% as against 2016. “We've managed to keep export roughly at the same level but merchandise import from Sweden plummeted. At present Sweden accounts for 1.1% of Mogilev Oblast's non-CIS trade. It is not such a bad figure but it could have been much larger. To make it happen, we have to take concrete steps to advance cooperation in the real sector,” believes the Mogilev Oblast governor.
Only one company with Swedish capital operates in Mogilev Oblast for now. “But the Swedish private sector is interested in the region. There is a lot of interesting projects in various spheres, which may interest the Swedish side. We are interested in advancing investment cooperation with a view to creating modern high-tech manufacturing enterprises and selling the products we make to third countries,” said Vladimir Domanevsky. He drew attention of the diplomat to serious opportunities and considerable preferences for business development in the free economic zone Mogilev and the southeastern part of the region.
The Mogilev Oblast governor suggested arranging a roundtable session involving representatives of the private sector of Mogilev Oblast and Sweden soon with a view to looking for and working out concrete proposals on advancing cooperation in the real sector. He also invited the diplomat and the Swedish delegation to take part in the tenth international investment forum Mill of Success, which will take place in Mogilev on 29-30 June. The governor expressed interest in opening a major retail outlet of the Swedish company Ikea in Mogilev for the sake of selling a large choice of furniture, which Mogilev Oblast companies make for Ikea among other contractors.
In turn, Christina Johannesson agreed that the potential for economic cooperation between Sweden and Mogilev Oblast is far from being exhausted. “We should work harder in this direction, opening more and more doors for business. The embassy intends to put more efforts into raising the awareness of Swedish companies about work opportunities in Belarus and its regions. Moreover, a number of regulatory acts have been passed in Belarus recently to support and encourage the development of private enterprises. It is a positive signal for investors, including Swedish ones,” believes the ambassador.
Innovations, alternative energy, and ecology are Sweden's priorities in advancing cooperation with Belarus. “We are interested in advancing humanitarian cooperation in the sphere of education, culture, and sport. We see great prospects in tourism development. We are glad that the decision on five days of visa-free travels in Belarus has been made. We've registered an increase in the number of tourists coming from Sweden. But unfortunately, over the course of five days they can only see Minsk and the oblast. The five days are not enough to reach the regions. This is why we are looking forward to Belarus' next step towards a longer visa-free travel period. In my opinion, extending the period to ten days would be optimal. It would open up new opportunities for business tourism, too,” believes Christina Johannesson.
On 21 February the diplomat intends to get familiar with the operation of major industrial enterprises in Mogilev. On 22 February she intends to discuss cooperation prospects with the Bobruisk District administration. The diplomat is also expected to visit the tire manufacturer Belshina, the food producer Krasny Pischevik, and Bobruisk Plant of Tractor Parts and Units.More about Economy