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27 June 2022, 12:00

Presidents of Belarus, Russia agree to keep import substitution process under tight control

MINSK, 27 June (BelTA) – We have agreed with President Putin to keep the process of import substitution under tight control, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Governor of Russia's Samara Oblast Dmitry Azarov in Minsk on 27 June, BelTA has learned.

"We are pleased that our products and services are fully in demand in the Russian market. Today, the question is no longer how to sell, as it was before. Today, the question is how to meet the demand primarily of our Russia, a huge country, for the goods that we produce. Our government must not turn any request or contract down, in any of the sectors. In recent days, we have thoroughly discussed this issue with the Russian president as we looked into the import substitution process. That's the number one question. We agreed that we will keep this process under tight control," the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that both Belarus and Russia are sometimes prone to red tape and bureaucracy: "Sometimes we map out all the steps, outline things to be solved, but once we get down to it, all kinds of ‘miracles' begin to surface. We know about this and, I stress again, the Russia president and I thoroughly analyzed these things and even gave orders to the people concerned."

The head of state explained what the issue is about. For example, Belarus, within the framework of the joint import substitution program, has suggested 15 projects for implementation. "But what happened then? Some in Russia said that they need only 10 projects. Five projects are uninteresting [to Russia] and Belarus can export these goods to third markets. But kudos to Putin. He said that Russia is interested in everything, because for Belarus to sell its goods in third countries, it must produce them first, and for that it uses components from the Russian Federation, about 50% of them. “So how can these projects be uninteresting?!” the president said. “So there is a decision, and you should take it into account without any reservations, that the projects on import substitution sponsored by Russia ($1.5 billion earmarked to Belarus) must be implemented without any delay."

"Otherwise, we might create the situation that will lead to internal discontent. This is what ruined the Soviet Union. Remember, when the deficit of laundry detergents and bread created people's discontent. Then worthless politicians made their contribution and the huge empire collapsed. Now we are reaping the fruits. Therefore, these mistakes should not be made in any case," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

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