GRODNO, 1 July (BelTA) – The Forum of Regions offers a great opportunity to strengthen cooperation with long-standing partners and build new contacts, Irkutsk Oblast Governor Igor Kobzev said at the plenary session “The role of interregional cooperation in deepening the Union State integration processes” at the 9th Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia in Grodno on 1 July, BelTA has learned.
“Irkutsk Oblast has been participating in the Forum of Regions since 2017. This forum offers a good opportunity to strengthen cooperation with long-term partners and build new contacts, study products of Belarusian enterprises, and discuss cooperation prospects. Today we signed two agreements - with Minsk Tractor Works and with Gomselmash,” Igor Kobzev said.
He added that Irkutsk Oblast is attractive for investors. “It ranks ninth in Russia in this regard, we have more than 180 investment contracts worth more than RUB2 trillion. At the same time, we trade with over 100 countries, the trade is estimated at more than RUB8 billion. Today we have discussed cooperation matters with Yuri Shuleiko [Brest Oblast Governor Yuri Shuleiko], we plan to hold the seventh joint meeting in Brest in October - November. I think that the agenda will change significantly taking into account the international situation,” the governor said.
Igor Kobzev added that the trade already exceeded $138 million. “Today we would like to consider a number of proposals from the regions that we believe will have a real impact. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Eastern Siberia has implemented a joint project of a virtual trading house with the Brest branch of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We believe that not only Brest, but also other regions of the Republic of Belarus might want to join this project. A virtual trading house is part of import substitution efforts, but the work is done in a more detailed format,” the governor said.
According to him, fair trade is gaining ground. “As many as 15 of our municipalities have joined it already. I must say right away that the Belarusian diaspora has more than 14,000 people, and we believe that this fact will also have a positive impact on bilateral cooperation. Our Taltsy Local Lore Museum and the Belarusian State Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Lifestyle have plans to launch an exposition of a Belarusian mansion. It will be a real masterpiece, we will not create it from scratch, it will be an existing product. The Days of Belarusian Culture are also important for us. We already have cooperation agreements between the regions. I believe that cooperation at the grassroots level, i.e. between rural settlements, can help promote tourism and agro-tourism,” Igor Kobzev said.
The Irkutsk Oblast governor also spoke about import substitution. “By now, we have substituted only 24 out of 45 types of imported products. And we invite our Belarusian partners to consider joining our import substitution effort,” Igor Kobzev concluded.