MOSCOW, 25 September (BelTA) - Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Dmitry Krutoi and Governor of Russia's Saratov Oblast Roman Busargin met to discuss promising cooperation projects in various areas, BelTA has learned.
“Saratov Oblast is now becoming one of the key Russian regions for Belarus. We have very high figures of mutual trade. Over the past three years we have doubled our trade and are planning to cross the $200 million threshold this year,” Dmitry Krutoi told the media after the talks. “We maintain good cooperation in industry, given the huge industrial potential of Saratov Oblast - from petrochemicals, nuclear energy to machine-building production in terms of component parts. Saratov Oblast buys a lot of Belarusian agricultural machinery: MAZ, MTZ, AMKODOR, and Gomselmash vehicles. Practically all Belarusian brands are present in this market, and we should think about maintaining this presence in the conditions of sanctions pressure, and do our best to expand it.”
According to the ambassador, Saratov Oblast is one of the leading regions of Russia in terms of agro-industrial potential: the regions harvests the same amount of grain as the whole of Belarus with the same amount of arable land. “For us this is an extremely capacious and important market, where we should hold a strong foothold,” he said.
Speaking about the development of industrial cooperation, Dmitry Krutoi recalled that the parties had an attempt to set up an assembly production of MTZ tractors in Saratov Oblast in 2015. “Now it is important to look into what did not work out then. Given good industrial sites with necessary infrastructure, we may move from simple trade to joint cooperative assembly of certain models of tractors or harvesters,” he said.
The diplomat also mentioned the prospects for cooperation to develop the transportation network and infrastructure. “One of the main topics for Saratov is the development of electric transportation, streetcars. The governor in his recent report to the president of the Russian Federation named it as one of the most important, anchor projects, concerning not only the purchase of streetcars, but also the modernization of the entire infrastructure: almost 70km of streetcar tracks, traction substations. Belarusian manufacturers, having the most advanced models and types of electric transport, could participate in this project in some pilot form,” the ambassador said.
The parties discussed the possibility for Belarusian builders to take part in the projects implemented in Saratov Oblast in road construction and construction of social facilities. “One more area discussed was aircraft construction, drones. The aviation plant in Engels receives deliveries of Belarusian component parts. It is important for us to understand where we can expand our cooperation. The governor announced the construction of a large drone center in Saratov. Given Belarus' competence in this area, we agreed to exchange relevant investment projects,” Dmitry Krutoi said.