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10 April 2024, 10:26

Lukashenko demands creating multi-brand centers in Russia, improving maintenance service

MINSK, 10 April (BelTA) – It is necessary to build a network of multi-brand centers in Russia and place a bigger focus on providing maintenance service, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he was reviewing the results of the meeting to discuss the domestic manufacturing sector, BelTA has learned.   
Belarus' Ambassador to Russia Dmitry Krutoi said that work is underway to set up multi-brand centers in the Russian Federation. The establishment of eight such centers was approved by the government. Of these, three are almost ready, and the other five will be commissioned by the end of 2025.

“They will be set up in big cities with a population of million-plus people, they will be our hubs. Governors from smaller cities might not need a big center and might ask for a smaller one that provides just maintenance service, repairs and spare parts. Therefore, at the second stage, we will do the same at the government level; we are looking into these matters. We will also make decisions [what kind of centers will be set up and where] and provide a full range of the necessary component parts. Governors ask for it. This is a number one task for them to further distribute our machinery,” the ambassador reported.

“This cannot be pushed to the second stage. No way. It must be done now,” Aleksandr Lukashenko responded.

He emphasized that the Russian governors with whom he regularly meets are interested in this form of interaction: “They tell me: “Tell your people, we will designate a place for it, we will do it...” In other words, I see their interest. And they are ready to meet us halfway.”

“Take this under control. Because selling our equipment without providing repair services means discrediting ourselves. Therefore, maintenance service is a must. If you ship a tractor there, then make sure that maintenance service is also available there,” the Belarusian leader noted. “We need to do it now – it is urgent. If we drag out feet, if we get busy setting up maintenance centers in large cities first and only after that we   go to small towns - nothing will work out. We will be undercut by others,” the president warned.

Dmitry Krutoi also spoke about the most promising areas of work on the Russian market. These activities will help Belarusian manufacturers retain their niches and even expand their presence. Joint planning is another important thing. This is stipulated by the decree on the uniform industrial policy signed by the heads of state. Important areas of work also include participation in Russian government programs, collaborations with state corporations, and coordination with industry-specific associations. Other relevant matters include assembly factories, the demand for Belarusian competencies in machine tool industry, cooperative supplies to conveyors, and many more.

“You imply in your report that any issue in Russia can be resolved. At a regional level. That is what I have talked about. Governors are ready to meet us halfway. We get the green light at every turn. Every governor who comes here is ready to run any program with us. Let’s do it! But this depends on them [heads of industrial enterprises and officials responsible for this area]. They should not sit here all the time. They should come to the embassy (this is our second government - in Russia) where they can get your advice and assistance, and call a governor, if necessary. They have a good attitude towards us, especially towards the ambassador. But we need to take it up a notch and work harder,”  Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.

“Opportunities are abundant. Yes, there are a couple of issues that I would like to raise at the presidential level. But most of them can be addressed at the government level. And they must be resolved right now,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

According to Dmitry Krutoi, the Industry Ministry has recently become Belarus' number one exporter to Russia. “Six billion dollars. Last year they overtook the Agriculture and Food Ministry with its food supplies. This is a quarter of our exports,” the ambassador noted.

This said, there are “big six” exporters within the Industry Ministry. Their exports to Russia are estimated at about $4.5 billion. “The export of BelGee passenger cars is estimated at a billion, BMZ and BelAZ $900 million each, MTZ and MAZ have a total of $1 billion and Horizont accounts for half a billion. In fact, over the recent two years, this export has doubled,” Dmitry Krutoi said.

The ambassador noted that Belarus is competing on the Russian market with such major global players as China and Türkiye. “Let's take Türkiye. Relatively small Belarus is only 1.5 billion behind Türkiye in total trade with Russia. They were in third place, we were in fourth last year,” the diplomat remarked. 
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