Prospects for cooperation between Belarus, Russia's Smolensk Oblast outlined

15:02, 30 May


Following the talks with Acting Governor of Russia's Smolensk Oblast Vasily Anokhin, Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Dmitry Krutoi gave his take on the prospects for cooperation projects with this Russian region as he talked to the media in Smolensk on 29 May, BelTA has learned.

"We discussed this topic with the acting governor. There are not many classical engineering manufacturers in Smolensk Oblast. There is a good sector of utility and road vehicles and a segment of auxiliary agricultural machines: balers, seeders, winnowing machines. We already have certain cooperation projects here. During a visit to the region six months ago, we toured Smolenskselmash. This time we visited the Integrated Road Machines Plant which uses MAZ chassis," the ambassador said.

According to him, this project is attractive for Belarus. "The plant is ready to increase the share of MAZ. Our supplies presently account for 30% of the chassis used by the plant, and we have agreed to aim for 50%. The region is thinking of localizing another component base, first of all, hydraulics, and secondly, paints and varnishes which they used to import from the West. They bought a trial batch in Belarus and, after the certification, are going to increase purchases in Belarus," Ambassador Dmitry Krutoi noted.

There are certain opportunities for cooperation with Smolensk Oblast in the military-industrial complex which the ambassador intends to explore during his next visit to the region. "The acting governor promised to provide us with the information on their import substitution programs, the demand for the component base," the diplomat added.

"Our cooperation is very modest in other industries: light industry, chemistry, mineral fertilizers,” Ambassador Dmitry Krutoi noted. “Timber industry too. The region imports some goods from Belarus, primarily boards and plywood products. But, unfortunately, we have no manufacturing projects yet. The acting governor suggested setting up furniture factories. Considering that there are several free economic zones and a territory of advanced development in the region, he invited Belarusian businessmen to set up small furniture enterprises to produce possibly bespoke things. The same applies to the light industry. We will explore these ideas together with the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry."

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