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27 June 2022, 11:33

Lukashenko: Belarus and Samara Oblast are able to reach $1bn in trade

MINSK, 27 June (BelTA) - Belarus and Russia's Samara Oblast have every opportunity to reach $1 billion in mutual trade, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Samara Oblast Governor Dmitry Azarov on 27 June, BelTA has learned.

“Without going into statistics, I want to say: there are all opportunities to reach $1 billion in mutual trade. We just need to fulfill what we previously agreed on at various levels. Today life itself pushes us to this and shows us the right way, maybe the only possible way. We have to rely on ourselves,” the Belarusian leader said.

According to Belarus' data, in 2021 the trade with Samara Oblast totaled almost $700 million, up some 4% year-on-year. The figures dropped 59% this year due to the reduced imports of certain goods from Russia. At the same time Belarusian exports is showing a good increase year-on-year (more than 20%). At present domestic enterprises are not only fulfilling their obligations, but also significantly exceeding supplies of spare parts and components, elevator equipment, furniture, food, medicines, and other goods.

The president said that Belarus was ready to significantly increase the supplies of its latest automotive, agricultural, road construction, municipal and logging equipment to Russia.

The head of state drew attention to the logging equipment, the production of which has been recently mastered in Belarus, but the country has not yet launched batch production. These products are in demand in Russia, too. Aleksandr Lukashenko stated: “I explained all of that to the president [of Russia]. We will not do without it after all, particularly Russia. As I said, it is our alternative oil [timber]. We need at least $200-250 million in order to start all of it as import substitution now. He said: it is an interesting project, we should study it and definitely promote. The governments have to get this project going now. Samara Oblast may play part in it, too.”

“I am sure that we can agree on the terms of supply, service, and financial support. Recent months have proved it,” the president said.

“Although prices have gone up this year for reasons beyond our control, Belarus' imports from your region have almost remained at the same level. We started buying more sunflower oil, copper wire, and bearings. It is by no means a complete list of the products we can purchase from you. We hope that your visit to Belarus will help balance the trade. Everyone will benefit from it,” the head of state said.

The search for new opportunities to expand industrial cooperation is of utmost importance. “We need full interest from both the parties. Jobs need to be created both in Belarus and Samara Oblast,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Another area of cooperation is technology transfer and export of services. For example, Belarusian specialists are interested in the research of Samara defense and industrial experts. In its turn, Belarus is always ready to share its accumulated experience in development of the agricultural sector, can expand the range of food supplies, participate in design and construction of social and industrial facilities. There is readiness to share scientific achievements and technologies, including achievements in road construction.

“If you want our participation in Samara Oblast projects, we would be grateful for it and we will demonstrate the most responsible attitude. Of course, with all the importance of developing economy and trade, we should not forget about humanitarian affairs. We need to cooperate in this regard as well, including in education, culture and information. Samara needs to know how Belarusians live. We also need to know how Samara Oblast is developing. Mass media will play an important role here,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested considering all areas of cooperation during the governor's visit to Belarus: “You should tell us what we can and should do for Samara Oblast. We are at your service. If it is necessary and we can give our hand somewhere, we are ready to do it.”

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