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01 June 2023, 19:10

Key avenues of cooperation between Belarus, Russia's Lipetsk Oblast identified

MINSK, 1 June (BelTA) – It is necessary to step up cooperation in a number of areas. Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko made the statement as he met with Governor of Russia's Lipetsk Oblast Igor Artamonov, BelTA has learned.

Roman Golovchenko said: “It is your fourth visit to Belarus and we cannot help but feel joy about the attention on the part of the head of the region, which is significant for us. Lipetsk Oblast is one of our most important trade and economic partners in the Russian Federation. We have good trade turnover. It was close to $334 million in 2022. But it is already history while we have to think about the future now. The structure of our trade turnover is not typical: import from Lipetsk Oblast exceeds our export to you. I am convinced that there is huge potential we have yet to fully tap into in order to secure better balance of trade flows. We hope that during your visit we will find the necessary solutions in order to balance our foreign trade turnover.”

The prime minister sees the biggest prospects in advancing manufacturing cooperation. “Commercial entities of Belarus' and Lipetsk Oblast's manufacturing sector successfully cooperate in shipments of raw materials and components. The Novolipetsk-based steel mill NLMK is a long-term partner of Belarusian companies in Lipetsk Oblast. The steel mill sells metal products to our manufacturers. We always say that Belarusian machines, vehicles, and equipment largely consist of Russian raw materials and components. It is essentially the product of the Union State of Belarus and Russia that we often talk about,” Roman Golovchenko emphasized.

In turn, Belarusian enterprises ship a broad choice of industrial goods starting with agricultural machines and ending with household appliances to Lipetsk Oblast. “One of the most important projects, which is in development stage now, is the creation of an enterprise to assemble Belarusian vehicles and machines at premises of the Lipetsk tractor plant,” the Belarusian head of government pointed out.

There are good prospects for selling Belarusian machine tools to Lipetsk Oblast as well. The Belarusian side is ready to more actively explore this avenue.

The development of electric transport looks promising. “You have worked out a very serious program on modernizing Lipetsk's electric transport system. Plans are in place to buy a respectable amount of new trams, reconstruct tram lines, and repair traction substations. Apart from that, Lipetsk Oblast is one of the Russian Federation's regions where a program on developing electric charging stations is being realized. We are very interested in this matter. All the more so because we have the relevant competences. Belarus is a leader in this segment in the post-Soviet space. A national program on the development of electric transport and respectively on the development of electric charging stations has been passed. There are two manufacturers with a full manufacturing cycle. If you are interested, I will instruct the Industry Ministry to take a closer look at the possibilities with you,” Roman Golovchenko noted.

Apart from that, there are significant reserves for stepping up cooperation in the sphere of agribusiness. “I am not entirely satisfied by the fact that Belarus and Lipetsk Oblast haven't managed to find new points of sustainable growth in agribusiness, maybe even manufacturing cooperation ones despite the well-developed agribusiness complexes. Your delegation will attend the Belagro expo, which will open in Belarus within the next few days. This is why I suggest we should review the entire agenda of cooperation in agribusiness and fill it with new projects, which will be interesting for both sides,” the prime minister added.

The Belarusian head of government believes it is necessary to also step up cooperation in civil engineering.

Belarus' trade turnover with Lipetsk Oblast has been steadily rising since 2020. It totaled $315 million in 2021. It was close to $334 million in 2022. Belarus' export went up from $70 million in 2021 to over $91 million in 2022 (31% up). Belarus' main exports to the Russian region were refrigerators, freezers and refrigerating equipment, mixed mineral fertilizers, washing machines, meat products, non-alloy steel rods. The main imports were metallurgical products (various kinds of rolled steel), rape seeds, and mineral tar.

In January-March 2023 Belarus' trade with Lipetsk Oblast totaled $68 million, 2.5% up from the same period of last year.

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