MINSK, 2 December (BelTA) – Astrakhan Oblast of Russia and Belarus have enjoyed many years of partnership, Governor of Russia's Astrakhan Oblast Igor Babushkin said at a meeting with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Minsk on 2 December, BelTA has learned.
“Astrakhan Oblast and Belarus have been in partnership for many years. I am glad that this year we have signed a new agreement with the Belarusian government,” said Igor Babushkin.
According to the governor, the focus is on cooperation in agriculture. “The exchange of agricultural products is probably the main thing that connects us today in terms of cooperation,” he said.
The head of the Russian region said that seasonal fairs of Belarusian products are most popular with Astrakhan residents. “Belarusian products are in demand here,” he said.
Astrakhan Oblast is also actively cooperating with Belarus in education and science. Russian universities have established close relations with counterparts from Minsk, Gomel, Vitebsk, Grodno, Mogilev and exchange research on a regular basis.
“We welcome Belarusian artists on our theatrical and concert venues. We, just like Belarus, pay a lot of attention to the Great Victory. Therefore, humanitarian cooperation is very important for us,” Igor Babushkin said.
In January-September 2021 the trade between Belarus and Russia's Astrakhan Oblast amounted to $23.1 million, up by almost 29% year-on-year. Belarus' exports totaled $4.7 million. Those were mainly chipboard, household equipment, machines, lifting, moving, loading and unloading equipment, wool, and construction parts made of plastics. In January-September the export of bleached paper and cardboard rose by 11.7 times year-on-year.
Belarus' major imports from Russia's Astrakhan Oblast were sulfur, fish, specific goods, wool, tomatoes, caviar, melons and watermelons, various vegetables. In January-September this year imports made up $18.4 million.
There is a dealer network of Belarusian machine-building enterprises in the region, including MAZ, MTZ, Gomselmash, Bobruiskagromash, and AMKODOR. Work is underway to set up a trade and maintenance center MTZ, which is to go online in 2022.