MOSCOW, 15 March (BelTA) – On 13-14 March, a Belarusian delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Leonid Zayats visited St. Petersburg to take part in the second edition of the Belarusian Food Forum and to hold talks with the authorities of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast. Ambassador of Belarus to Russia Dmitry Krutoi told journalists about the outcomes of the visit, BelTA informs.
The delegation met with Leningrad Oblast Governor Alexander Drozdenko to take stock of the state and prospects for cooperation in the agricultural industry, to explore the possibility to increase the supplies of food products and to cooperate in food processing. They also reviewed progress to implement the agreements that were signed to intensify economic cooperation with Leningrad Oblast.
“We reviewed the results of 2022. It came as a kind of surprise to me that our country was the biggest or second biggest trading partner of Leningrad Oblast across a number of commodity items. Leningrad Oblast ranks 8th or 9th among our trading partners, in other words, it is one of the priority markets for us among Russian regions,” Dmitry Krutoi said.
According to him, Belarus and Leningrad Oblast cooperate across a wide range of areas. “Last year alone, our export to this region was diversified to include 68 new export items. The total number of export items reached almost 600. This is the biggest assortment range if we take trade with Russian regions. All industries contributed to the expansion of the commodity assortment, including metallurgy that had to redirect its export flows to the Russian market due to the sanctions, and Leningrad Oblast is one of the leading Russian regions in this respect. Our manufacturers of light industry products and building materials made the most of the situation: the region is running a large-scale program to build social facilities, housing and roads, and the governor has once again confirmed today that the region will need Belarusian resources. Therefore, we will have to work harder this year,” the ambassador stressed.
At the meeting with St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Kirill Polyakov, the parties discussed plans to expand the volume and assortment of Belarusian food supplies, the operation of the commodity distribution network, joint efforts to ensure food security, the development of St. Petersburg as a transport and logistics hub for Belarusian food supplies in Northwestern Federal District of Russia. The parties agreed that the Belarusian Food Forum is an effective and important tool to promote cooperation in the agro-industrial complex, establish contacts between Belarusian agricultural producers and all business segments of the city.
“The focus of our meeting with the St. Petersburg deputy governor was food supplies. Colleagues provided detailed information on the operation of our distribution network in St. Petersburg. We discussed what else we can do to optimize deliveries to federal networks and to streamline logistics to convenience stores,” Dmitry Krutoi noted.
“As far as the manufacturing industry is concerned, of course, we discussed equipment supplies and participation in the program to upgrade the public utilities system in St. Petersburg. Colleagues got interested in the Belarusian experience of running the 115 service. Their experts have already studied this project, now we are waiting for a delegation from St. Petersburg in Belarus,” the ambassador added.