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08 December 2022, 11:44

Prospects for Belarus-Kyrgyzstan cooperation outlined

BISHKEK, 8 December (BelTA) - Belarus is setting up facilities to produce elevators and transformers in Kyrgyzstan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Kyrgyzstan Andrei Strachko told the media, BelTA has learned.

The diplomat noted that Kyrgyzstan is a traditional partner of Belarus in the Central Asian region. Last year, trade between the countries reached almost $100 million, with Belarusian export accounting for 88% of it. In 2022, it is expected to grow by one and a half times.

"This year we are working quite successfully too. Export continues growing. But this year we see a trend (something we have long been striving for): supplies from Kyrgyzstan to Belarus have begun to grow. Kyrgyzstan is our reliable and friendly partner, and we have always wanted not only to sell more. We wanted our partners to supply more goods to Belarus too. We import dried fruits, wool, and radiators, which is their main product," the ambassador said.

Assembly of elevators and transformers

Today, the two countries are seeking not only to build up trade, but also to make joint products.

"We are not giving up on the topic of assembly plants, because it is interesting. Kyrgyzstan is a logistics hub, a gateway to other markets," Ambassador Andrei Strachko explained.

Belarus and Kyrgyzstan have already outlined the key areas: assembly of transformers together with the Kozlov Minsk Electrotechnical Plant and elevators jointly with Mogilevliftmash.

"There is a huge market for our elevators and for our transformers there. Kyrgyzstan seems to be a small country, but all the old Soviet elevators were produced by Mogilevliftmash. Bishkek alone needs to replace about 1,500 elevators. In recent years, we have sold about 20-30 elevators a year. But today we have agreed with Kyrgyzstan on the joint production. A memorandum has been signed with Bishkek, and a government order will be placed for elevators. Therefore, we are planning to produce up to 200 elevators next year. If this venture proves successful, we might tap into the markets of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan because they, too, operate Belarusian elevators," the ambassador said.

With the help of Belarusian transformers, Kyrgyzstan is planning to refresh not only the existing fleet but also to use them to increase its hydropower capabilities.

Food and light industry

Kyrgyzstan is also interested in Belarusian meat and dairy products. "Here we have great prospects. We are planning to suggest them to set up some kind of exemplary agricultural holding company, like those we have in Belarus, to launch supplies of our equipment for meat and dairy industries. To do this, they need to tackle certain internal problems. All their facilities are small-scale. Meanwhile we propose to set up a large agricultural holding company that will have great opportunities and potential to be competitive," Ambassador Andrei Strachko said.

Kyrgyzstan also considers itself a dairy country. They provide their market with dairy products and also supply Kazakhstan. However, the production volume in Kyrgyzstan is still not as large as in Belarus. “They would like to expand their product line and make the same products from milk as we do,” the diplomat added.

According to Andrei Strachko, two Belarusian stores Belovezhsky Gostinets have been operating in Kyrgyzstan since 2020 and their products are very popular with the locals.

“More and more customers are coming here; they appreciate our products, even though they are more expensive. The most important thing is that our products made it to the local market. Our cheeses, milk, butter, and sausage products have become very popular, and they are praised by every Bishkek resident. We have also great prospects in food supplies here,” the ambassador said.

Light industry is seen as another promising area for bilateral cooperation. Belarus shows interest in working with the local producers of wool, cotton and leather. According to the diplomat, the countries can set up a joint venture in the industry. Companies of the two countries may work on direct supplies, as well.

Infrastructure and transport

Kyrgyzstan has been actively increasing its hydro power capacities. The construction of Kambar-Ata Hydro Power Plant has been launched this year. Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov said in October that once the construction was over, the country would become an independent, fully self-sufficient country, which will export electricity.

“We expect that this investment project will actively develop, and we see here the prospect of increasing the supply of our haulers and other quarry equipment. We are very mobile in this regard and we are ready to work with them,” said Andrei Strachko.

According to the ambassador, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan are developing cooperation in urban transport. Kyrgyzstan is interested in Belarusian electric buses, but their price is still quite high. In this regard, Belarus suggests setting up a joint production. By the way, the Eurasian Electric Bus pilot project has been launched as part of the industrial block of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

“Kyrgyzstan is interested in our experience, our best practices, so we have big plans here. We should be more proactive,” the head of the Belarusian diplomatic mission stressed.

Another topic that the countries are actively discussing is Belarus' participation in the local infrastructure projects, the railroad in particular. This issue was discussed at a recent meeting of the joint intergovernmental commission. “This is an important issue for Kyrgyzstan. The country is a member of the SCO and has agreed with China to build the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railroad. We offer both our machinery and our equipment for producing cross-ties and rails,” the diplomat explained.

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