MINSK, 28 April (BelTA) – In the light of the sanctions, Russia's Voronezh Oblast and Belarus can increase trade significantly, Governor of the Russian region Aleksandr Gusev said during a meeting with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Minsk on 28 April, BelTA has learned.
The head of the Voronezh region thanked for the invitation to visit Belarus, for the warm welcome and for an extensive business program.
The delegation of the region has already visited the MAZ and Belkommunmash mechanical engineering companies. "The interest is mutual," Governor Aleksandr Gusev stated. He said that Voronezh Oblast has been continuously developing the transport infrastructure and therefore the goods made in Belarus will be useful: "I think we will sign contracts and make purchases. This applies primarily to electric transport as the basis of passenger transport for Voronezh."
The Russian delegation also visited the Aleksandrov National Cancer Center. Voronezh Oblast, according to the governor, has launched a comprehensive system of assistance to cancer patients, and is building a large surgery unit and a therapeutic one."Of course, the experience that has been accumulated in the center [the Aleksandrov National Cancer Center] is extremely relevant for us. We agreed that we will send a large group of our doctors to exchange experience and adopt best practices. Yesterday we also inspected what equipment that is produced in Belarus we can buy. It is of high quality, meets the expectations and requirements of our medical community," Aleksandr Gusev said.
According to him, the negotiations were also held in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which should also give yield results, including in terms of trade growth.
Trade and economic cooperation, according to the governor, has been growing nicely. In 2021, the trade exceeded $348 million, which was up by 30% over 2020, the highest figure since 2018. "But I do not think that we should stop at that," Aleksandr Gusev said. “Trade and economic cooperation will certainly grow. We planned a 10% increase this year, but taking into account the sanctions, I think the opportunities and prospects are much bigger."
In 2021 mutual trade between Belarus and Russia's Voronezh Oblast amounted to more than $348 million, with Belarusian exports hitting $217 million. Belarus' major exports to Voronezh Oblast are cheese, cottage cheese and butter, beef, metal products, parts and accessories for cars and tractors.
Belarus imports mainly sunflower oil, soybeans, and synthetic rubber from Voronezh Oblast. Last year, Belarus imported a total of $131 million worth of products.
At the beginning of this year, the trade continued to grow and exceeded $58 million in January-February 2022, which was almost 58% up year-on-year.