PETROZAVODSK, 29 July (BelTA) – The annual trade of $100 million between Russia's Karelia and Belarus is an achievable goal, Head of the Republic of Karelia Artur Parfenchikov told BelTA following his meeting with State Secretary of the Union State Grigory Rapota in Petrozavodrsk on 29 July, BelTA has learned.
“We would like to reach $100 million in annual mutual trade. This is the figure we discussed with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko in December 2018. We are still at the very beginning on our way towards achieving the goal,” Artur Parfenchikov said.
According to the head of Karelia, in 2019 the trade between Belarus and Karelia totaled $12.4 million (down 3% from 2019).
Belarusian exports to Karelia increased by 20% last year to make up $7.8 million. The increase was due to a 54-fold increase in the supply of ferrous metals and their products, 19-fold increase in the supply of vehicles, two-time increase in the supply of foodstuffs, 1.5-time increase in the supply of consumer goods, 16% increase in the supply of wood and its products. Belarus' imports from Karelia amounted to $4.6 million, down 16.4%.
In January-May 2020, the trade increased by 45% compared to the same period last year and amounted to $6.8 million. Supplies from Belarus increased by 73% to $4.8 million, imports from Karelia - by 4% to $2 million. “Increasing trade amid the coronavirus pandemic is a response to our previous efforts,” said Artur Parfenchikov.
According to the head of Karelia, there are great prospects to develop cooperation in forestry, including forest restoration, mechanical engineering, agrarian sector and tourism. “There is no sector where we are unable to find areas for cooperation,” he said.
Karelia is home to ten companies with the Belarusian capital: Amkodor-Onego (equipment for agriculture and forestry), Amkodor-Stroy (construction of residential and non-residential buildings), Belka-Trans (cargo transport activities), Promkomplekt (wholesale trade in machinery, tools and equipment for industrial and special purposes), Petropharm 2000, Karelia Pharmacies, Pharmretail Holding, Novapharm (retail trade in medications), Aurinko (retail trade mostly in food products, including beverages and tobacco products), Russkiy Terem (retail trade). According to Artur Parfenchikov, the potential for cooperation is still hugely untapped. “The trade of $100 million is not the limit,” he said.