MINSK, 25 September (BelTA) – Companies under the umbrella of the Industry Ministry export about 70% of their output, with shipments made to more than 100 countries worldwide, First Deputy Industry Minister Gennady Svidersky told a press conference on 25 September, BelTA has learned.
“These companies manufactured more than Br9 billion of products and generated over Br300 million in profits. Most of the output is shipped to Russia and other CIS member states, as well as faraway countries. A foreign trade surplus was achieved,” Gennady Svidersky said.
In January-July 2019, more than $2.5 billion worth of goods went on sale abroad. About $3 billion is expected in January-August, or 92% as against the same period a year before. According to the first deputy minister, the slowdown is attributed to the devaluation of the Russian ruble, because exports are calculated in dollar equivalent. “The export was nearly 100% in physical terms. We have not reached the target yet, but we are undertaking extra measures to beat the target,” Gennady Svidersky said.
In addition to currency fluctuations, a lot depends on global prices. For example, at present prices for metallurgy products are falling. A market share is a more objective indicator. In this regard, enterprises manufacturing metallurgy products, tractors and vehicles have maintained their positions on the market.
When asked about prospects on the EU market, Gennady Svidersky answered that there are some technical and economic barriers. Indeed, automotive industry companies (like MTZ, MAZ) should have their own spare parts depots in the territory of the European Union in order to ensure uninterrupted operation of vehicles. This is done through offices in the EU. Another requirement has to do with environmental standards. “Belarusian companies are working on it,” Gennady Svidersky said.
In addition to that, domestic producers seek to diversify the assortment of exports. For example, the Saleo holding company launched hydraulics that used to be purchased abroad. The products were such a success that they were named import-substituting products for the Union State in Russia. “Our ultimate goal is to scale up manufacturing cooperation in the Union State and to gain a competitive edge on external markets by means of the low prime cost and the high quality of products,” he said.
Belarus' mechanical engineering industry employs over 150,000 people and encompasses about 200 enterprises. The product range is extensive: from microchips and heart valves to the world's biggest dump trucks.
Non-CIS states accounted for 30% of the exports. Shipments to the Eurasian Economic Union went up on the back of increased supplies to Kazakhstan and Armenia. Exports to Africa rose 1.4 times over the same period in 2018. Trial batches of products were shipped to nine countries where the ministry did not export in January-July 2018. Among them are Lebanon, Benin, Chile, Togo, and Uganda.