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12 May 2023, 11:27

Gryzlov: Russia, Belarus' efforts to counter sanctions are bearing fruit

Boris Gryzlov. An archive photo
Boris Gryzlov. An archive photo

MINSK, 12 May (BelTA) – The measures taken by the governments of Russia and Belarus to fend off the sanctions are bringing tangible results, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Boris Gryzlov told reporters prior to the meeting between Belarus' Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko and Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov, BelTA has learned.

“The specific measures taken by the governments of Russia and Belarus to counter the sanctions bring absolutely tangible and appreciable results. Over the past year, we managed to redirect a significant part of Belarusian export flows to the Russian market, namely about 40% of exports that Belarus could no longer ship due to the restrictions of the West, including an actual transport blockade. On the macroeconomic level, 40% is a very significant amount. Such a restructuring usually takes years, while we accomplished it in just 12 months,” the ambassador said.

According to the diplomat, Russia's share in Belarus' foreign trade has grown to 60%, or up by 10 percentage points. At the end of last year, Russia-Belarus trade reached $45.8 billion, an increase of 14.3%. Belarus managed to grow its export to Russia by 40.2% up to $22.9 billion. “This positive trend remained in place at the start of 2023. According to recent estimates, in January Belarus ramped up its export to Russia by over 50% year-on-year,” said Boris Gryzlov.

He emphasized that interregional cooperation played an important role in these processes; in fact, it turned out to be an effective mechanism to address a wide range of tasks in trade, economy and other fields.

“The visits of business delegations and heads of Russian regions to Belarus have a practical goal. Each visit of a governor results in new contracts and long-term projects. This work continues. In just four months of this year, nine Russian governors visited Belarus. Until the end of May, the heads of Vladimir Oblast and Lipetsk Oblast are set to pay a visit,” the ambassador said.

High on the agenda of these visits are efforts to replace Western agricultural machinery, municipal vehicles and other special equipment with Belarus-made vehicles. Moreover, Belarus has all the necessary technologies and competencies. At the same time, active work is underway to expand the network of dealer and maintenance centers for servicing Belarusian equipment in Russia.

Boris Gryzlov cited the Republic of Bashkortostan as a case in point. Its flagship projects include the construction of Amkodor's plant in Ufa that will produce machines and equipment for post-harvest grain processing. Its opening is planned to coincide with the 10th Forum of Regions of Russia and Belarus that will be held in Ufa on 26-28 June.

Transport and logistics remain areas of focus during the visits of delegations from Russian regions. In 2023, direct flights from Ufa, Kaluga and Perm to Minsk were launched. The topic of involving Belarusian partners into the International North–South Transport Corridor project and the project to create a multimodal transport and logistics center in Kaluga Oblast are under discussion. Cooperation in construction and agricultural industry is also vibrant.

Boris Gryzlov recalled the visit of Acting Head of the DPR Denis Pushilin to Minsk in April. “The meetings that took place were very productive. A number of promising avenues of interaction between the region and the Republic of Belarus were outlined,” he said.

“Of course, all our projects and initiatives will be brought to fruition. This confidence is not at all declarative. It is based on very specific statistics, which confirm that we are moving in the right direction,” the diplomat concluded.

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